The Minnesota Vikings signed Latavius Murray in the offseason to help replace Adrian Peterson in the backfield, and now the spotlight is on the fifth-year running back after Dalvin Cook suffered a knee injury Sunday, the Vikings announced.
Cook's injury could potentially mean a bump in Murray's fantasy football value, but a few factors are worth considering before raising your expectations for the 2015 Pro Bowler.
Murray entered the 2017 season having averaged 4.2 yards per carry in his three years with the Oakland Raiders. Even during his Pro Bowl year (2015), he ranked 33rd among 47 qualified players in yards per carry (4.0).
Murray doesn't offer a significant ceiling as a pass-catcher, either, based on his time in Oakland. He caught 91 passes for 639 yards in 45 games.
Leaving Murray aside, the Vikings were one of the worst run-blocking teams in the league in 2016. According to Football Outsiders, Minnesota ranked 30th in adjusted line yards. Signing Mike Remmers and Riley Reiff didn't exactly address the issue, either, nor did selecting Pat Elflein in the third round of the 2017 draft.
The Vikings have climbed to 19th, which is progress, but it still means sitting in the bottom half of the league.
Cook's injury allows Murray to play an even bigger role in the Vikings offense, but it doesn't necessarily answer the questions fantasy owners had about Murray and the Minnesota running game as a whole entering this year.
Give it another week or two before considering Murray an RB2 or flex option.