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Jerick McKinnon should be your top trade target in dynasty

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 3: Jerick McKinnon #31 of the Minnesota Vikings receives a kickoff during an NFL game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field January 3, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)

After playing his college ball at Georgia Southern, it took a freakish NFL Combine performance for Jerick McKinnon to get on the draft radar in 2014. At 5’9 and 209 pounds, he dominated every event, finishing as one of the running back position’s top performers in 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone and 20-second short shuttle.

It didn’t take long for McKinnon to prove that he wasn’t as raw as some evaluators projected him to be. In his first season with the Vikings, he was pressed into action thanks to the unexpected absence of Adrian Peterson. He split time with Matt Asiata, but he quickly established himself as a positive option. He forced 14 missed tackles in 113 carries and an additional nine on 27 receptions with a 2.62 Yco/Att average. This was good for the 14th-best elusive rating of all running backs who saw at least 25 percent of their team’s snaps that year.

After finishing his rookie season with a healthy 4.8 yards-per-carry average, he was arguably even more effective in 2015 on a per-touch basis. With Peterson back in the lineup, McKinnon was limited to just 52 rushing attempts, but he made the most of them, and he finished with a 5.2 yards-per-carry average. He also improved his elusive rating and breakaway percentage. He turned 3-of-52 carries into gains of 15-plus yards.

McKinnon’s dynamic upside as a runner is just one piece of the puzzle, and one reason why he should be on the top of your trade target list in dynasty and keeper leagues. Let's take a look at the other factors surrounding McKinnon's future fantasy outlook.

Path to playing time

Instead of building up to it, we’ll lead with arguably the most important reason why you should be targeting McKinnon in dynasty and keeper leagues. This is the foundation for why he needs to get on your radar now, and the next points are the support. The Vikings have one of the NFL’s few workhorse backs on the roster, and his name’s not McKinnon, but we shouldn’t expect that to remain the case.

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