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Latavius Murray's 2 Rushing TDs Play Big Role in 24-7 Win Over Rams

MINNEAPOLIS –Latavius Murray doesn't like to toot his own horn, but the "Tay Train" whistle was sounding Sunday afternoon.

A high school football announcer coined the nickname when Murray started earning attention as a sophomore, and it's stuck into his pro career.

"It's been around for a long time. A lot of people think I'm just going out there and tootin' my horn and stuff like that, but I've been the 'Tay Train' for a while," Murray said with a smile.

After the Rams got on the board with an early touchdown, the Vikings on their second drive answered back with seven points of their own. Murray opened the series with a run for no gain and a 1-yard rush two plays later, but on second-and-goal from the 8, he surged ahead and across the goal line.

Murray rushed for 95 yards on 15 carries and scored two of Minnesota's three touchdowns en route to a 24-7 defeat of Los Angeles.

His second touchdown to start the fourth quarter was a fight to get into the end zone and was ruled a touchdown after an officials' review.

"I was able to keep driving my feet and then got a little help from the push," Murray said.

Minnesota recorded 171 rushing yards on the afternoon, 99 of them coming in the second half.

"We really wanted to kind of turn it up, and we were able to do that," said Murray, who notched his second-best rushing game of the season.

The Rams consistently stacked the box with eight defenders, and Murray said the Vikings found a way to use the challenge to their advantage.

"We just knew that they were going to pack the box, and we knew that [if we] got across that front line and past those backers, there was a lot of space for us," Murray explained.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said he thinks Murray has become more effective as the season has gone on. Originally signed as a free agent this spring, Murray was injured during much of the offseason and received limited snaps to start the year. He and Jerick McKinnon stepped up when Dalvin Cook tore his ACL in Week 4, however, and the duo has kept the run game rolling.

"I think he's gotten better, I think he's run the ball physically," Zimmer said. "I also think that the offensive line is doing some good things. Each week is a different week. You line up against different guys, you have to figure out how to beat that particular team you're playing.

"The offensive coaches did a nice job; they've done a great job all year in protection and run game-wise," Zimmer added.

Murray was quick to also give a bulk of the credit to Minnesota's offensive line, which did not allow a sack for the fifth time this season.

"No sacks, no turnovers, and it starts with them," Murray said. "They gave us holes to run through, they gave Case time to throw the ball down the field. So it starts with him."

Rashod Hill, who started in place of right tackle Mike Remmers, said Murray had a "tremendous" performance to help the Vikings improve to 8-2.

"He's a hard runner. We know when we give him the ball, he's going to make something happen," Hill said.

Right guard Joe Berger added that it was fun to see Murray score twice and break three double-digit runs.

For an offensive lineman, it's hard work paying off.

"We spent a lot of the first half just running plays and kind of running, pounding away at it a little bit," Berger said. "To be able to break a couple there in the second half, that's a reward for the work you put in during the first half. It's always fun to watch the running back take off a little bit."

The Vikings running backs put forth a group effort Sunday.

In addition to Murray's performance, Jerick McKinnon recorded 48 yards on 14 attempts and added five catches for 12 yards through the air. Fullback C.J. Ham also was a factor, tallying eight yards on three carries, including a successful fourth-and-1 conversion in the first quarter.

"All year, we've been running the ball great," Ham said. "Jerick and Latavius have been complementing each other in a tremendous way, and I'm just glad I get thrown in the mix every once in a while, too.

"It was awesome," Ham added of Murray's outing. "Obviously big runs especially help the momentum. It really helps confidence throughout the whole offense, and it was nice to see him get out there."

Minnesota's sixth straight win was significant, but Murray reminded that it's important to stay grounded in anticipation of a short week and division game against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day.

"[The win was] very satisfying. Like I said, no turnovers, no sacks against a really good defense like that, that's big time," Murray said. "We know that, but we want to just carry that over to Detroit."

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