March 19, 2018

RB McKinnon agrees to 4-year deal with 49ers

15 March 2018, 12:22 | Anna Jefferson

NFL free agents: Pat Shurmur product Jerick McKinnon gets big contract from 49ers, not Giants

Jan 21 2018 Philadelphia PA USA Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick Mc Kinnon runs the ball against Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Corey Graham during the second quarter in the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandator

After four years in a part-time, fill-in role for Minnesota, McKinnon has parlayed his explosiveness into a very nice $30 million deal.

"Jerick has proven to be an extremely versatile football player whose speed, elusiveness and tackle-breaking ability make him a very hard matchup for defenses", Lynch said.

Jerick McKinnon is a decent running back, but the San Francisco 49ers are about to pay the former Minnesota Vikings player like an elite superstar.

Looking at PFF rankings for running backs last season, McKinnon actually ranks as the eighth-highest graded back overall with a grade of 84.6.

It's a little bittersweet that McKinnon will not be returning to the Vikings, as he was a favorite among fans and teammates. Over the past four seasons with the Vikings (2014-17), he has appeared in 58 games (14 starts) and registered 474 carries for 1,918 yards and seven touchdowns while adding 142 receptions for 984 yards and five touchdowns.

The Vikings' starter at running back in 2018 is expected to be Dalvin Cook, who suffered a season-ending torn ACL in the fourth game last season.

As McKinnon joins the 49ers, the team's starting running back in 2017, Carlos Hyde, is headed to the Cleveland Browns on a three-year deal reportedly worth $15 million. McKinnon doesn't figure to see enough work nor has he been efficient enough over his career - he averages just 3.6 yards per carry over the last two seasons - to be in the RB1 conversation. After leaving Minnesota this offseason, McKinnon is heading west to San Francisco where he could break through to the next level of his career. This hefty sum also indicates the 49ers view him as a lead back.

"Jet is going to get a lot of interest in the free agency market because he can play both running back, third down, and do a little stuff at wide receiver and special teams", Schrager said.

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