EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Latavius Murray wants to be on the field in a game uniform, but the running back and the Vikings know it's more important for him to be fully ready first.
Murray signed with Minnesota during free agency but needed ankle surgery (which he disclosed to the team before signing). The rehab sidelined him for the team's offseason program and delayed his participation in practices until the final two days of training camp at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
The Vikings shifted Murray from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform List on Aug. 7, and he participated in individual drills that day and Aug. 8. He did not play in the Vikings preseason opener last Thursday at Buffalo but said on Tuesday that he is continuing to make progress.
"I'm feeling really good, was able to do a little bit more last week in practice, so I want to keep going on that trend and hopefully feel better each day," Murray said. "I definitely like where I'm heading.
"I think I have to be honest with myself and smart about me going on the field," Murray added. "I wanted to be out there back during OTAs. It doesn't come down to whether I want to be out there or not. I definitely have to take precaution on how my ankle is and make sure I'm well enough to be out there on the field. As long as I continue to improve, I'll be back on the field in no time."
Even though Murray has a 1,000-yard rushing season under his belt (1,066 in 2015 when he made the Pro Bowl) and scored 12 touchdowns last season in Oakland, the fifth-year pro said he still values the importance of every rep to keep improving his game.
"I've done some good things in this league," Murray said. "I guess that's why I'm here, but I feel I have a lot more to accomplish and a lot of things I can be better at, so I'm going to continue to improve and be a better player."
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Murray is "getting more and more [work] every day, so it won't be much longer."
Zimmer said he has confidence in what he's seen from Murray that he'll be able to step into the new offense once he is ready medically.
"He's been around long enough and seen a number of different protections through the course of the practices that he's been in and the walk-throughs," Zimmer said. "I don't think he'll have an issue with things like that. Getting to know the guys a little more, how they block up front, when you're chipping on a defensive end, knowing exactly where the guy is going to be. Terminology is always the number one thing for learning an offense, but Latavius is a smart guy."