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McKinnon Scores by Air & Ground to Lead Vikings Offense

MINNEAPOLIS — Whether by land or by air, Jerick McKinnon hardly cares how he gets into the end zone in a particular game.

Actually, McKinnon wouldn't even be bothered if he didn't get in at all. 

"It's not really about me scoring," McKinnon said. "When I score, I see it [as us getting] seven more points for whatever situation we were in.

"It's not about scoring, whether it's rushing or catching the ball," McKinnon said. "I'm just trying to make plays that affect the game."

McKinnon did that and more in Sunday's 23-10 win over Green Bay.

The running back accounted for 99 total yards on 21 combined touches, and found the end zone twice as he scored both of the Vikings offensive touchdowns.

McKinnon opened the scoring on the first play of the second quarter and took a screen pass and scampered 27 yards for the score.

The play was McKinnon's longest career touchdown reception. He had five receptions for 30 yards.

"I am just trying to find a way to make a play for the team," McKinnon said. "When my number is called, I just try to make the most out of the opportunities that the coaches are giving me. 

"From week-to-week, [my role] is starting to increase a little bit," McKinnon added. "But for me, it's all about working and getting better."

Vikings left guard Jeremiah Sirles, who started in place of Nick Easton, noted McKinnon's versatility and athleticism as a reason why the running back is so effective in the screen game.

"(The offensive line) can get out and move in space pretty well. We can run a little bit and having a guy like Jet back there, he can make the first guy miss," Sirles said. "As long as we just stay in front of people, he makes us look good."

McKinnon also led the Vikings in rushing as he had 69 yards on 16 carries, with a long of 20 yards.

The former Georgia Southern standout scored his second touchdown on the day when he powered in from three yards out midway through the second quarter.

While McKinnon's second-quarter fumble did set up Green Bay's only touchdown, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said he was pleased with the play-making ability the running back brought to the offense.

"The fumble was not good, especially at that point of the game," Zimmer said. "But you know, Jerick did a nice job. He caught the ball well today, he ran the ball good, he's good to get to the perimeter.

"There's some things we have to correct with him, as with a lot of our guys, but it's always good correcting after wins," Zimmer added.

Vikings running back Latavius Murray had 16 carries for 28 yards against the Packers.

McKinnon has stepped up in the wake of the season-ending injury to rookie running back Dalvin Cook. McKinnon has 245 total yards and three touchdowns in two full games since Cook was injured. 

"I FaceTime Dalvin a lot. He's in good spirits," McKinnon said. "It's not about me getting more carries or anything like that, because when Latavius is in the game, I'm saying, 'Run the ball, give the ball to him.'

"When coach calls your number, it gives you confidence and it makes you want to make a play for everybody," McKinnon added.

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