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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Mismatched or just uncovered, Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon tops 100 receiving yards

By Derek Wetmore

MINNEAPOLIS — Remember Ontario Smith?

He’s the last Vikings running back to record 100 receiving yards in one game. Or he was the last, anyway, before Jerick McKinnon pulled in 114 yards through the air in Sunday’s win against the Bengals, mostly with huge gainers on wide-open passes and screen plays.

Smith had to wait a dozen years before another Vikings running back joined him and racked up 100 receiving yards in a day. Head coach Mike Zimmer didn’t know until after the game that McKinnon cleared the century mark. McKinnon said he didn’t know it until he saw it posted on the stadium’s huge scoreboard. But it was no accident that McKinnon was put in that position.

McKinnon led all Vikings pass catchers on Sunday with 7 catches and 8 targets, and had a team-long 41 yards on one of his grabs. With Bengals linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Nick Vigil sitting out with injuries, the Vikings saw the potential to get McKinnon and Latavius Murray involved in the passing game, and McKinnon took full advantage.

“Well, they had some new linebackers in there,” Zimmer explained, “and when they’re playing man-to-man [coverage] we thought we had an opportunity to get some [big] plays.”

They used screen plays to get favorable matchups for McKinnon. Case Keenum completed 20 of his 23 pass attempts before he was pulled from the lopsided game, thanks in part to those high-percentage throws to McKinnon. And sometimes, McKinnon pointed out, he was left completely uncovered.

“I try to take a picture, a visual before I catch the ball so I know what’s in front of me, and Case did a good job of finding me today,” McKinnon said. “For some reason, they didn’t want to cover me today. They left me open, and I was able to make some big plays for the offense.”

Latavius Murray picked up 28 yards on a short pass on the Vikings’ second play from scrimmage. Later, the Vikings faced 3rd-and-2, and Keenum found a wide-open McKinnon for 41 yards. By halftime, the Bengals had picked up just one first down on offense and the Vikings already were cruising with a 24-0 lead.

“They played it better later in the rest of the game,” Zimmer said, but it was too late.

“They had a couple linebackers out [with injury] so we were trying to isolate them a bit with the running backs. Case did a good job there,” Zimmer said.

The post Mismatched or just uncovered, Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon tops 100 receiving yards appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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