Latavius Murray expected to make his Minnesota Vikings debut on Sunday

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 08: Latavius Murray
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 08: Latavius Murray /

Healed from an ankle injury, the running back will likely make his on-field debut in a Minnesota Vikings uniform in the team’s third preseason game on Sunday night.

Following the departure of Adrian Peterson and before the drafting of Dalvin Cook, Latavius Murray was expected to be the top guy in the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive backfield for the upcoming 2017 season. However, his recovery from offseason ankle surgery took a little longer than expected and he was unable to practice with the team up until a few weeks ago.

In his absence, Cook has been given more opportunities to work with the Vikings’ first-team offense and the rookie will likely open the regular season as the team’s starting running back.

As for Murray, he did not suit up for either of Minnesota’s first two preseason games this year. However, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer suggested on Thursday that the veteran back will make his on-field debut this upcoming Sunday in the team’s third preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers.

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This is good news for Minnesota, as the team will get its first opportunity to try and figure out how they would like to use Murray in their offense once the regular season begins in a few weeks. He has shown the ability to be an every-down back in the past with the Oakland Raiders (sixth most rushing yards in 2015), but with the emergence of Cook this offseason, Murray will likely be the Vikings’ short-yardage specialist in 2017.

The amount of time the running back is expected to play on Sunday remains unknown at this point, but one would think that Minnesota would like to see him get some snaps during at least two or three of their offensive drives.

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Sunday will likely be the only on-field action Murray will get until the regular season home opener on September 11 also, as next week’s preseason finale is normally reserved for those players who are currently battling to be among the final 53 to make the active roster.