The San Francisco 49ers have injury concerns at the running back spot with the 2018 season approaching.
According to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, the 49ers announced Sunday that running back Jerick McKinnon would undergo an MRI on his right knee. That comes after Maiocco noted McKinnon grabbed his right knee area and was seen hobbling before sitting out the rest of Sunday’s practice.
ESPN's Adam Schefter, citing a source, later reported McKinnon's MRI came back "good and just a muscle strain."
As a member of the Minnesota Vikings, McKinnon missed only one contest the last three seasons.
The Georgia Southern product impressed as a rookie in 2014 with 538 rushing yards in 11 games and appeared to be well on his way to becoming an impact runner in the NFL. However, he took a backseat to Adrian Peterson in 2015 and tallied just 271 yards on the ground before bouncing back with 539 in 2016.
McKinnon helped lead the Vikings to the NFC North title in 2017 after the team lost Dalvin Cook for the season with a torn ACL. He tallied 570 rushing yards, 421 receiving yards and five total touchdowns. All of those totals were career-high marks, and he made it difficult to take him off the field, especially in third-down situations.
That versatility and his ability to make a difference in the passing game surely attracted the 49ers to him this offseason, and he has the opportunity to be a major factor in the offense when he is fully healthy.
San Francisco can always turn toward Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Joe Williams if McKinnon is sidelined, but none of those options brings the upside or established history of production that the presumed starter does.