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Former LB Jon Beason calls Latavius Murray a ‘younger version of Adrian Peterson’

Linebackers should know running backs, and former All-Pro linebacker Jon Beason liked the Minnesota Vikings’ choice for a free-agent running back.

Not that they were looking for it, but the Minnesota Vikings got Jon Beason’s approval in signing free-agent running back Latavius Murray, calling him a “younger version of Adrian Peterson.”

Beason played linebacker for the Carolina Panthers for seven years, earning first-team Associated Press All-Pro status in 2008 and second-team status in 2009, then finished his career with the New York Giants from 2013-15. Being a former linebacker, he should know running backs.

Beason gave the Vikings’ signing of Murray a B grade, which was the best of the three running backs he reviewed in free agency. 

“If I’m Oakland, I’m saying he’s been part of our team and they should have re-signed the guy. But, ultimately, if you’re the Vikings you pick up a younger version of Adrian Peterson,” Beason said in his analysis for CBS. “I think the guy is a special talent that can do it all – he can take it the distance, he’s good catching the ball and he runs behind his pads. He is a hard tackle.”

If Murray really is a younger version of Peterson, then his signing for three years and $15 million with little dead-cap space in the final two years would be an excellent signing. So if Beason’s opinion of Murray is that high, why not an A grade?

“The reason why it’s a B for me is because that offensive line is so terrible, so hopefully the upgrade at running back will make their offense better,” Beason said. “But, ultimately, they’ve got to do a better job with the guys up front, so it’s just a B.”

Before signing Murray, the Vikings visited with former Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy, who signed with the Seattle Seahawks, another team that struggled with their offensive line in 2016. Lacy signed a one-year, $4.25 million contract.

Beason had questions there, too, but he clearly thinks Lacy is a risk and gave the Seahawks signing a C.

“My problem with Eddie Lacy is history is a great teacher and he’s always been overweight,” Beason said. “They want him at 235, 240; he’s probably going to be overweight again. So it’s a C, but the offensive line is still the biggest problem.”

While Peterson and Jamaal Charles remain on the free-agent market, the New England Patriots made the other somewhat significant signing at the position when they inked Rex Burkhead to a one-year, $3.15 million contract.

Burkhead to the Patriots also got a C from Beason because he believes LeGarrette Blount is better, but Blount remains unsigned.

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