Minnesota Vikings: 5 surprise players who could make roster
By Josh Zinger
Jhurell Pressley, RB
With Adrian Peterson, Jerick McKinnon, and Matt Asiata in place, some would say that the Vikings are set at running back. Those people wouldn’t necessarily be wrong; Peterson is still among the best in the league, McKinnon is a dynamic and versatile complement, and Asiata had 10 touchdowns just one season ago.
If anyone has the ability to unseat Asiata, however, it’s Pressley.
A small-school prospect out of the University of New Mexico, Pressley dominated at the lower level of competition, averaging an astounding 7.8 yards per carry and posting 29 touchdowns over his final three years.
While that kind of production certainly catches the eye, it’s Pressley’s athletic measurables that truly make him stand out.
At 5’10” and 206 pounds, Pressley posted a blazing fast 4.38 second 40 yard dash and a 4.06 second short shuttle, times that would have ranked second and first among all running backs at the combine, respectively. Rounding out his workout with an impressive 25 bench press reps, Pressley has all the speed, agility, and strength that teams covet.
At 24 years old and with substantial athletic upside, Pressley is simply a far more intriguing long-term prospect than Asiata.
For the Vikings, a team that could go deep in the playoffs, it will also be critical for Pressley to contribute right away, however.
Asiata is a key special teams contributor, and if Pressley can’t immediately fill his shoes then he will have a very tough time cracking the roster.
Fortunately, Pressley comes with experience, posting 15 tackles for New Mexico’s coverage units in his career. Pressley will need to quickly build upon that to have any shot of matching up to Asiata’s special teams production, but that background is certainly encouraging.
Ultimately, whether Pressley can earn a roster spot will come down to his ability to do the dirty work on special teams, but his upside might be enough to crack the final roster.