Because of his ankle injury that required surgery days after he signed, running back Latavius Murray is among those that are reporting to Minnesota Vikings’ Training Camp today. Murray will likely be the team’s back on third downs and at the goal line, but the battle between he and Dalvin Cook to see who gets the rest of the carries should be an interesting one.
Murray answered some questions on today’s reporting day, and thanks to the Vikings’ PR staff, we have those questions and Murray’s answers here for your reading pleasure.
Q: How is your health heading into the first practice tomorrow?
A: My health is really good. I’m feeling good and the progress is coming along. As far as practice, I’m not sure yet. I still have to get with coach and the training staff to see what they’re going to have me do.
Q: What do you think it can do for these young players and new faces to have a couple of days to get acclimated here before everything really gets going?
A: I think the fact that they’ll have a few days before everyone else comes back into the offense and defense will be very helpful. It’ll be helpful for me just being here. I’m happy to be able to dive back into the playbook, and again, I want to learn it as much as I can, inside and out, so when I’m back on the field I’m able to play fast.
Q: How do you feel about being the veteran of the running back group? Have you been able to get to know the other backs and offer help?
A: I definitely think I’ve been able to help. I’m in every meeting and I go out on the field while they’re practicing. Again, for me it takes some getting used to knowing that I’m the veteran now, because I’ve been under some older guys for most of my career. But any help I can give, I give them. We talk often and we text outside of the building. I’m here to help always. I’ve always said when you have that type of competition in the room it makes everybody better. At the end of the day, the best player is going to play, whether that’s me, Dalvin [Cook], Jet [Jerick McKinnon], or [Terrell] Newby. The best running back is going to play, so everybody has to have that kind of mindset and everybody has to go out there and compete.
Q: Now that you are healthy, how intense do you think the competition to replace Adrian Peterson will be?
A: To be honest, I don’t think anybody is looking at it in that way. We obviously know that guy was great in that uniform, but I think for everybody in the running back room right now it’s about the individual. For me, I want to be the best player I can be, and I want to be taking the snaps and be the number one back, and I know each other guy wants to do that as well. I think for everyone in there it’s about themselves and getting better so they can be the guy.
Q: Seeing the rookies get off the bus, did that take you back to when you were a rookie?
A: I’m not going to lie, thankfully I didn’t have to report early when I was a rookie. I think they just added that in here, that they’re able to report early. We did it last year out in Oakland. But I did have a lot of nerves, especially when I turned into the campus. For one, I’ve never done an actual training camp in the dorm room, so I’m getting that whole feel. We were spoiled out there at the Marriott in Oakland. I had a lot of nerves, as again, I’m in a new situation. You never know what to expect, but I think a lot of that too is just excitement that the season is really, really close.
Q: How did you become a successful pass blocker?
A: To be honest, for a while I never thought I was a good pass protector. I actually thought I was really bad at it. So I was very critical on myself, especially if I got bull rushed or if I got juked. I was very critical of myself and I think that really motivated me to use my frame, even if it may not look pretty. Use my frame, use my size, and make sure my guys doesn’t touch the quarterback. I think I’ve been able to improve on that each year.
Q: How difficult has it been for you coming to a new team and not knowing when the first time you’ll be able to put the uniform on will be?
A: It’s very difficult, because those guys, they have the upper hand. They’ve been out there practicing. Dalvin, he’s been in the system. It’s one thing for me to watch from the sideline, but when you’re in it, it’s much easier to learn when you’re able to make the mistakes that I can only see. I would say that they’re ahead of the game right now, so when I do come back I have some making up to do. I have to bust my behind to make sure I set myself apart.