With Adrian Peterson possibly out for the rest of the season the Vikings will have a trio of running backs to choose from going forward: Jerick McKinnon, Matt Asiata and new signee Ronnie Hillman.
Head coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday that Jerick McKinnon will start this Sunday against the Panthers. Hillman’s role is uncertain at this point.
“I’m not here to replace anyone. I’m just here to be me,” Hillman told TMZ Sports. “I’m excited. It’s a fresh start for me. I’m here to do whatever they ask me to do. Run, catch. Whatever I can.”
Hillman spent the last four seasons with the Denver Broncos where he averaged 4.1 yards per carry with a career-best 863 yards last season, 103 of which came against the Vikings (including a 72-yard touchdown run).
It’s unclear if Hillman will be active on Sunday but he’s a serviceable back who’s faced a heavy workload before.
What about McKinnon and Asiata?
Whatever the case, it’s next man up for the Vikings.
“I’ve said this before, this team is resilient, tough and competitive,” head coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday. “We’re not the type of team that’s going to sit back and cry about what’s happened. We’re going to go forward and try to find a way.”
McKinnon started six games in 2014 when Peterson was suspended and put up solid numbers, averaging just under 5 yards per carry while catching 27 passes.
Matt Asiata is another running back the Vikings can turn to. He started nine games in 2014 and has been with the Vikings since 2012. He also has 12 career touchdowns – most of them coming from the goal line.