Jerick McKinnon was feeling better on Friday than the day before, but he’s still uncertain if he will be able to play Monday night against the Chicago Bears, leaving that decision up to the coaching and training staffs. He didn’t practice again on Friday, making his availability on Saturday key to any real hope that he plays.
“The day after is probably the worst. It feels a lot better,” McKinnon said. “I’m just going to keep working with the training staff and do whatever it takes and we’ll go from there.”
McKinnon, the Minnesota Vikings’ main running back after Adrian Peterson was placed on injured reserve, suffered a sprained ankle on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. He returned to the game and tried to play, but eventually was taken out.
“Competitive juices,” he said of trying to return to the game. “Any time you go down you don’t want to come out of the game. It was hard for me to deal with that part of not being able to finish the game. I guess that’s just where the frustration came from – not being able to be out there and compete with my teammates.”
McKinnon ended up playing 16 snaps – rushing 11 times for 43 yards – while Matt Asiata played 57 snaps and carried the ball 12 times for 55 yards. McKinnon leads the team with 217 yards rushing on 68 carries.
“I just got rolled up on pretty good. He caught me on the back end and my ankle came down kind of weird and he just landed on it,” McKinnon said of the initial injury. “It’s one of those things that happens so you play through it.”
After being in a walking boot earlier in the week, McKinnon was out of that on Friday, but he couldn’t give an answer when asked if he would play on Monday.
“I’m not trying to miss no games,” he said. “I’ve been doing whatever it is that (head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman) and the training staff has had me doing to make sure my ankle is good and stronger and prepared.”
Offensive coordinator Norv Turner said the Vikings would be missing a big-play possibility if McKinnon couldn’t play, but acknowledged that there haven’t been many of those opportunities exploited this year.
“He hasn’t had the opportunity yet, but he has given us big-play ability,” Turner said. “Last year when we beat Chicago here he had a crossing route where he went for about 30 yards and a screen where he went for about 30 yards, so he had 70 yards receiving. He hasn’t had that game yet like he did a year ago, but we know he’s capable.”