Latavius Murray ‘already behind’ but expects to win Vikings starting job

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07: Latavius Murray
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07: Latavius Murray /

In a recent television appearance, Latavius Murray answered questions about the Minnesota Vikings RB competition and his mindset for the coming year.

Usually, veteran players are considered to have an advantage over rookies due to their years of experience in the league. In the case of Latavius Murray and Dalvin Cook, however, that might not be the case for the Minnesota Vikings at running back — at least if you ask Murray.

In a recent appearance on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football said he feels like he’s behind after missing OTAs and minicamp due to surgery on his ankle in March.

"“I’m looking at it from my perspective. Here I am, already behind in a sense, going into a new offense, a new situation, but I’m injured, coming off of an injury, and Dalvin’s already been through the OTAs, he’s already been through the offseason, so he has that [advantage over] me.”"

Despite the leg up that Cook after going through the Vikings’ offseason program, Murray is hardly shying away from the competition.

"“I’m also looking at it as ‘I’m the vet, I have time in this league, I’ve done some good things in this league and so I have a lot to bring to the table’ . . . this is my time, this is my new opportunity, and this is what I want.”"

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As the most experienced member of the Vikings running back room, Murray also acknowledged a responsibility to help Dalvin Cook as he adjusts to the NFL—even though they are in open competition with one another. The way Murray looks at it, he should do everything he can to help Cook get better, and then do everything he can to win the starting job anyway.

"“MJD, Darren McFadden, Marcel Reece, those guys did everything they could to try and help me be a better player, and I’m going to do the same for Dalvin. But again, it’s going to come down to the best player who’s going to play. Because I give Dalvin knowledge and help him doesn’t mean I shouldn’t go out there and outperform him and outcompete.”"

Murray’s comments are certainly interesting. While players often try to downplay positional competitions, Murray embraced it, expressing his underdog mentality and intention to win the starting job outright. For Vikings fans, Murray’s approach should be highly encouraging. Murray is approaching the running back competition battle as a fierce competitor, but he is also approaching it as a mentor. At the end of the day, he is looking to make both Dalvin Cook and himself the best players they can be.

When it came down to it, though, Latavius Murray left no uncertainty about how he sees the competition playing out.

"“When it comes [to] game one, I need to be back there in the I-formation lining up.”"

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Of course, time will tell who the starting running back is for the Minnesota Vikings during week 1. With experience on his side, there is a good chance it could be Latavius Murray. However, with tough competition hot on his heels, he will need to play exceptionally well to hold the job.