EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner said Thursday that he was pleased with the combination of what Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata delivered in filling in for Adrian Peterson for a second straight week.
McKinnon played 46 snaps on offense and had 18 carries for 85 yards, including the Vikings longest rush of the year (25 yards) and a 4-yard touchdown against the Giants. Asiata played 29 offensive snaps, carried the ball six times for six yards and caught two passes for 12 yards.
Asiata powered his way into the end zone from a yard out for the Vikings first rushing touchdown and added a key reception for a first down during Minnesota's clinching touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.
Minnesota (4-0) will host Houston (3-1) at noon (CT) Sunday.
Turner was asked about the balance between the backs on Thursday when he, Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards and Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer spoke with the media.
"To me, it's an on-going thing. I think they're both really good," Turner said. "There are certain things we know Jerick does better than Matt, and there are some things Matt does better. But I think it's going to be a week-to-week deal, and I think Jerick is going to be the lead guy, but there are some games that Matt may get more reps than he does in others."
As for the long run by McKinnon, a toss where he got to the edge and turned the corner, Turner said it was a reincarnation of a play the Vikings ran successfully against the Giants in 2015 with different personnel and a different formation. Minnesota rushed 40 times for 218 yards (including Peterson 22 times for 104 yards and a touchdown and McKinnon seven carries, 89 yards and two touchdowns)/
"Some of it has to do with who we're playing, and when we played the Giants a year ago, we got to the edges; and we got to the edges with Adrian and with Jerick," Turner said. "We want get to the edges. If teams give you those opportunities, and Jerick and certainly can [get to the edge]. He's as fast … He is really fast. He's as fast of a running back as, probably, I've been around."
Here are other topics covered by the coordinators during their
Turner on Patterson's expanded role in the offense:
Cordarrelle Patterson did a little bit of everything against the Giants and had more opportunities on offense. Patterson caught a screen on Minnesota's fourth offensive snap and turned it into a 21-yard gain with helpful blocks from teammates. He finished with five catches for 38 yards.
"We all know that 'C.P.' [Cordarrelle Patterson] has always flashed and always made plays," Turner said. "I think what he has really made a commitment to is being consistent and going out every day being consistent, and consistent with the mental approach, consistent with the performance, consistent with the effort. And I think that has been somewhere, not only he has grown, but a number of our guys have a good understanding, and I think they truly understand that if you do that and do it on a consistent basis, there's a trust factor that comes in. And you're going to get opportunities."
Edwards on Texans RB Lamar Miller:
Houston is an unfamiliar foe for the Vikings. The franchises have met just three times since the Texans inaugural season of 2002. The transitional effects of free agency, however, lend to a little more familiarity. Edwards coached linebackers in Miami from 2012-13, and Miller was with the Dolphins from 2012-15.
"He's always been a tough grinding running back. He can run in between the tackles, has the speed to get out on the corner and good vision being able to see when to bounce or when to cut back," Edwards said. "He's a good receiver out of the backfield. He's done a good job in protection. So, all-around he's a good back. I mean he can handle all of the things they're asking him to do. I think he's done good behind that offensive line. They've done a good job of creating space for him being able to explode through the hole and cut and accelerate up the field. I think they're doing a good job offensively using his skill set, and it'll be a tough challenge for us this week."
Edwards on the strong start by Texans rookie WR Will Fuller:
Edwards said Fuller has flourished in Houston so far by capitalizing on the attention that teams are paying to DeAndre Hopkins. Fuller has 19 receptions for 323 yards with a long of 53 and two touchdowns.
"Fuller has been able to take the top off. A lot of people have really been concerned with 10 (Hopkins) on their backside and just taking him away from out of the game," Edwards said. "He's been able to win his one-on-one matches down the field. He's really outrun some guys. … He's a viable threat catching the ball in the short area. You saw him last week take a screen and run with it. You saw him return a punt for a touchdown. So, very versatile in his skill set and he'll be a challenge for us this week.
Priefer on the challenge ahead:
"Houston poses a lot of problems. They're a playoff team from a year ago. They're 3-1, they're playing good football. They have outstanding special teams. They scored a touchdown on a punt return the other day. The guy's (Fuller's) first career punt return he returns it for a score. It's going to be a difficult matchup for us. Our big emphasis this week is obviously in our kickoff and punt team covering well. They've got that little returner, No. 34 (Tyler Ervin), out of San Jose State. He's very, very good, we had a lot of good things to say about him in our draft room last year. So he poses a big time threat for us. So that's going to be our focus going forward here this week."
Priefer on Laquon Treadwell working on special teams:
"He's a guy that's a very good athlete, he's itching to get on the field. He's had a really good attitude, especially the last few weeks because he's seen the success that Cordarrelle has had at gunner. He sees the success some of our younger players that are around him that are going out on the field and performing for us on special teams. That's why I love our locker room.
"Even the guys like Andrew Sendejo who is a starter on defense, plays two phases for us. Adam Thielen starts now on offense, he's playing two phases for us. They look around and see that kind of leadership that we have in our locker room, it's been outstanding. That's the kind of guys that Rick and Coach Zimmer have brought in, and that really helps me do my job better and more effectively. The young guys look around and kind of feed off that enthusiasm from the older guys. Then they go out and respond well on special teams."