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Murray's 2 TDs Helps Vikings Notch 13th Win, Clinch Playoff Bye

MINNEAPOLIS –All aboard the "Tay Train."

The running back helped Minnesota get off to a fast start and early lead. Murray had rushes for gains of 6, 6, 8, and 5, respectively, before pushing forward for a 1-yard touchdown.

"We wanted to start fast. We wanted to leave everything on the field," Murray said. "We wanted to finish this season off right."

Murray recorded 20 carries for 111 yards, his second-highest total of the season and sixth-highest of his career. His second score early in the second quarter marked Murray's sixth career game with multiple touchdowns.

Murray's 20 touchdowns over the past two seasons are tied with LaGarrette Blount for second in the NFL among running backs behind Ezekiel Elliott.

It was a stat Murray was unaware of until told by media members in the locker room following the game.

"I think it's pretty cool," Murray said. "I guess I never pay attention to those stats, but I know I try to do things for the offense, which is scoring touchdowns and running the football really well."

But he quickly turned the attention off of himself and onto the offensive line, which performed without starters Nick Easton and Pat Elflein.

"I have to give credit to the O-line, especially today," Murray said. "Pat and Nick going down in the past week, I think it shows just how tough they are. How they've been able to come in and step up and not miss a beat.

"You have to give them a lot of credit because I feel like every other week or so, they're moving around up front," Murray added. "Those guys don't complain one bit about anything. They just go to work. I'm very, very lucky that those guys are in front of me."

Joe Berger filled in for Elflein at center while Berger's right guard position was filled in by Mike Remmers.

Berger complimented Murray's work at the goal line that helped the Vikings defeat the Bears and clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs.

"He runs the ball hard. You can see it in the four-minute [offense] at the end [of games]," Berger said. "He's not going to be denied. They're going to have to put up a fight to deny him. Even more when you're there and can see the goal line, he's got a way to find a little seam somewhere and just run people over."

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Murray has played a crucial role in the run game this season and has especially made an impact on red zone success.

"He's been good in his career inside the 10-yard line. He did that again today," Zimmer said. "You get in there and there's a lot of bodies. You get a bigger guy in there, and he can lower his pads and bring his big rear end and legs with him and drive it in there. He did get some help today, a couple of our guys helped shove him in there."

Murray was also complimented by fellow running back Jerick McKinnon, who contributed 44 rushing yards on 12 attempts.

"He played a great game today," said McKinnon. "For me, it's just about continuing to feed him the energy.

"I told him he owed me three. He didn't get three, so he's going to owe me in the next game," McKinnon quipped. "But he had a great game. Ran hard between the tackles, made explosive plays, and I couldn't be more happy for him."

Despite the personal accomplishments, however, Murray is more focused on the Vikings 13-3 finish with momentum heading into the postseason.

Murray has only spent one season in Purple but has embraced the Minnesota fans who have, in turn, given him a warm welcome at U.S. Bank Stadium throughout the season. He emphasized the significance of locking in the No. 2 seed that gives the Vikings home-field advantage for the divisional round playoff game in two weeks.

"They've been great all year. I think it's a huge advantage for us I think we knew the importance of playing here at this stadium," Murray said. "Playing here at home with this special crowd is going to be huge for us going into the playoffs."

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