After a disappointing Vikings season, Murray heads to free agency believing he can be a lead-runner. With Dalvin Cook already the clear top back in Minnesota, Murray will likely have to look elsewhere if he wants to compete for a starting role.
“I want to play. I want to start. I’m not content with being in a backup role,” Murray said earlier in the week, via The Star Tribune. “I want to compete, and Dalvin knows that. We push each other. That’s what it’s about. But I would love to be back here for that opportunity to compete.”
Murray turns 29 years old later this month. Given his age and limited production, it might be difficult for him to find a landing spot that provides him a path to more than a shared role.
He did start six games in place of Cook this season to mixed results. There was the 155-yard performance against the Arizona Cardinals. There were also duds like averaging 1.3 yards per carry in games against Chicago and Seattle.
Part of Murray’s up-and-down season had to do with the Vikings entire offense being a rudderless operation, which led to the in-season firing of coordinator John DeFilippo.
“We truly didn’t know what we wanted to do,” Murray said of the offense, “and so that was tough.”
Cook has earned the right to be an every-down back. When the second-year back was plowing over defenders and earning chunk gains, the Vikes’ offense moved at a better pace.
Murray understands Cook is the lead back, which could lead him elsewhere in 2019.
“We’ve both mutually expressed our feelings about me returning,” Murray said. “Then I think we also understand the business side of it. So right now, time will tell.”
Time and opportunity could be hard to come by for a between-the-tackles runner approaching 30 years old. With few lead-back roles up for grabs, Murray might have to wait for offseason injuries to strike if he wants to position himself for more carries. Otherwise, he’s likely to find himself in a committee situation, at best, next year.
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