2014 NFL Draft: Vikings Make Huge Mistake with Jerick McKinnon

Jerick McKinnon

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After the departure of Toby Gerhart via free agency, the Minnesota Vikings knew they needed to find themselves a capable backup running back during the 2014 NFL Draft. However, they made a mistake in thinking that Georgia Southern runner Jerick McKinnon is the answer to their problems.

With the No. 97 overall pick, the Vikings went out on a limb to draft McKinnon, who will immediately be expected to serve in a third-down role behind All Pro running back Adrian Peterson. Unfortunately for Minnesota, the human Swiss Army knife is far from ready to shoulder the load.

First and foremost, McKinnon is an extremely raw prospect who doesn’t have a set position as he enters the NFL. During his days at Georgia Southern, McKinnon played quarterback, running back and wide receiver – it’s even rumored he can play some defense. While he’s certainly an explosive athlete as evidenced by his NFL Combine performance (4.41 40-yard dash, 40.5 inch vertical, 11-foot broad jump), the tape doesn’t show a polished player ready to see the field immediately.

What’s worse is the Vikings spent a third-round pick on him when several other options were available. With players like Devonta Freeman, Marion Grice and Ka’Deem Carey still on the board, Minnesota instead made a major reach by selecting McKinnon. There’s also a good chance he would have been available with one of the Vikings’ Day 3 picks.

Finally, the Vikings needed a running back capable of contributing on third downs – that typically involves pass blocking and being a target out of the backfield. Not only is McKinnon an inexperienced pass protector, but he only had 10 career catches with the Eagles. I understand upside, but was a third-round pick really warranted?

The workout numbers are great, but they don’t always translate to NFL success. The Vikings made the same mistake when they used the No. 9 overall pick on outside linebacker Anthony Barr, and are again displaying their infatuation with athleticism at No. 96.

GM Rick Spielman has been a draft guru since taking over for the Vikings, but this pick might end up in the “bust” column alongside Christian Ponder.

Gil Alcaraz IV is the Director of Content for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

Around the Web

  • Eagle1

    I have to disagree with this article. I have watched this kid play for four years and he is one of the most versatile players I have seen. He can read the defense very well because he also played cornerback at Georgia Southern. The highlight tapes does not due him justice. There are some players from “big schools” with great college stats but don’t do well in the NFL. Sometimes players from smaller schools do not get the respect they deserve because of their school size. The only thing I can say is let McKinnon get his chance to prove himself before calling him a bad draft pick.

  • Wolf Swampman

    this guy who wrote this article must coach little league cause the vikings are gonna see a kid who will blow their mind and it is eagles not golden eagles which i think shows how much a dumb ass this guy is GATA!

  • Tucson, Arizona

    Ka’deem Carey should’ve been the guy

  • Jo

    This is a horribly written article….. “Golden Eagles”? Its just Eagles. If you can’t even get that right how do you expect to judge a player correctly….

  • John R

    First of all I want to say that there are 32 teams in the NFL making Jerick the 96th overall pick. I get it though, simple math is tough. Also it’s just the Eagles. This guy sounds like a gator fan. Jerick was a stud at the combine placing in the top three of 5 categories and putting up more reps on the 225 bench (32) than Clowney (28). He was Southern’s quarterback, ever heard of the wildcat? I don’t know how you got this column bro. You’re terrible.