By now you all know about the Adrian Peterson conundrum. With the all-galaxy running back out indefinitely, the Minnesota Vikings will have to choose from the likes of Matt Asiata and their rookie third string running back, Jerick McKinnon. Asiata got the start in Week 2 against the New England Patriots and did a commendable job, at least from the perspective of fantasy owners who picked him up and started him. Playing 68% of the Vikings offensive snaps, Asiata racked up 36 yards on 13 carries for an inefficient 2.8 yards per carry. The receiving aspect of his game saved the day for owners, however, as he reeled in a solid 5 passes for 48 yards and a touchdown. Other than the 25-yard touchdown catch early in the game however, it was clear to see Asiata is not talented enough to put up these types of numbers on a week to week basis.
On Thursday, Norv Turner, the offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings, said that the two backs will share carries going forward, and if one of them gets a hot hand, you can expect Minnesota to keep feeding that hand. While Asiata seems like the back to have at the moment, McKinnon is destined to leap Asiata as the main ball carrier in Minnesota. Not only was McKinnon one of the fastest backs at the NFL combine, but he was the strongest as well, putting up 32 reps on the bench press. This combination of speed and size bodes well for the 3rd round rookie running back.
Asiata is probably the safer play for week three and the immediate overall future, as he’s a bit more reliable as a receiver and blocker. However, McKinnon is the guy you want to own long-term, both for the remainder of the year, as well as in Dynasty fantasy football leagues. He’s simply an athletic freak who has way more upside.