Jerick McKinnon is ‘glad to be back’ after missing last two seasons

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Jerick McKinnon
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Jerick McKinnon /

The former Minnesota Vikings running back hasn’t played football in two years.

Following a successful 2017 season with the Minnesota Vikings, Jerick McKinnon decided to explore other opportunities outside of the Twin Cities and he ended up landing with the San Francisco 49ers.

McKinnon was given a nice chunk of change by the 49ers (four-year, $30 million deal) and he was expected to be an important part of his new team’s offense in 2018. But then the former Vikings running back was dealt an unfortunate blow.

Just a few days before McKinnon was scheduled to help San Francisco go up against his former team in the 2018 regular-season opener, the running back suffered a torn ACL.

Former Minnesota Vikings running back excited for return to football

McKinnon ended up missing the entire 2018 campaign and he was expected to be ready to play again by the start of the 2019 season. However, the former Minnesota running back suffered a setback in his recovery efforts and he was forced to sit out all of last year as well.

Despite being a member of the 49ers for the past two seasons, the last time McKinnon was on the field for a meaningful game was back during the 2017 NFC Championship when he was with the Vikings.

On Sunday, McKinnon will finally make his regular-season debut in a San Francisco uniform, and to say he’s excited would be quite the understatement. He recently shared some of his thoughts on what he’ll be feeling this weekend.

"“I ain’t going to lie, I’ll probably cry. It’s been a long road, a long journey, with a lot of emotions throughout that journey. I’m going to be amped up to go, but I’m definitely going to soak it all in and not forget what I had to go through and to overcome to get to this point.I never really missed a whole season, let alone two in a row. I don’t know anything more motivating than getting knocked down to probably your lowest and then having to fight back. I’m just glad to be back, for real, for real.”"

After the Vikings selected him in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft, McKinnon spent his first four seasons in the league in purple and gold. In Minnesota, he established himself as a solid change-of-pace back in addition to being a threat as a receiver out of the backfield.

During his four years with the Vikings, McKinnon racked up a total of 1,978 rushing yards (4.0 yards per carry) and 12 touchdowns while also hauling 142 passes for 984 yards.

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At this point, it’s hard to predict where the former Minnesota running back will fit in the 49ers offense this season. Whatever sort of role he ends up playing though, McKinnon is ready to prove to his doubters that he can still make a difference on an NFL roster.