If not for a back injury ending his rookie season, Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon would have had a chance to finish near the top of the rookie rushing rankings.
Instead, McKinnon's season ended after 11 weeks due to a nagging injury that required season-ending surgery.
McKinnon finished his first NFL campaign with 538 rushing yards; good for second on the team behind Matt Asiata's 570 yards. But McKinnon averaged 4.8 yards per carry – far better than Asiata's 3.5-yard average. Only two rookie runners, St. Louis' Tre Mason and Cincinnati's Jeremy Hill had higher yards-per-carry averages.
The back surgery won't keep McKinnon from developing this offseason. He told the Star Tribune that he'll be 100 percent ready to go when the team's training program begins April 20.
“I’m expecting bigger and better things for myself,” McKinnon said of his 2015 goals.
But according to Pro Football Talk, McKinnon's production in his second year will likely be determined by Adrian Peterson. If Peterson returns to Minnesota, McKinnon won't see as much action. If Peterson goes elsewhere for a "fresh start," McKinnon would likely assume the role as the team's No. 1 runner.
Meanwhile, McKinnon was in awe of what Timberwolves rookie Zach LaVine did at the NBA Slam Dunk Contest over the week. You can see all of LaVine's dunks right here.