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Zimmer Likes Latavius Murray's Versatility

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer likes what his team has done in free agency.

Zimmer chatted with "Voice of the Vikings" Paul Allen on Tuesday's 9 to Noon Show on KFAN about a variety of topics, but the pair mainly focused on the newest members of the Vikings.

Zimmer said Murray's "big-play ability" and versatility on the field was a reason the Vikings went after him in free agency. The coach said he believes Murray can uniquely contribute on all three downs.

"He's very knowledgeable," Zimmer said. "Obviously he's a big back … he's got strength in his running game, power in his running game. 

"He catches the ball well out of the backfield and is a good pass protector," Zimmer added.

Murray, who is entering his fifth professional season, had 195 carries for 788 yards and a career-high 12 touchdowns for the Oakland Raiders in 2016.

Zimmer also praised Murray's ability to be a threat out of the backfield and added he could pair well with Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford. Murray has 91 career catches for 639 yards.

"Sam does a great job of getting the ball checked down when he needs to, and I think [Murray's] got a chance to [help with] that," Zimmer said. "If we can continue to get him to break tackles and make some long runs, that's what we're looking for."

Zimmer also told Allen that Murray could help protect Bradford when the quarterback is looking downfield, too.

"No. 1 is knowing where the pressure is coming from," Zimmer said about Murray's skills as a pass protector. "Typically the back has more than one guy in protection … he may have three or four different guys and he has to pick out the one that (blitzes).

"And then being able to step up in there and take on a big linebacker or big safety," Zimmer added.

The Vikings also beefed up their offensive line by signing offensive tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers.

Zimmer said he's excited about the grit and toughness both players will bring to the unit.

"I think they're going to fight you all day long," Zimmer said. "One thing I was impressed with Remmers … even though there were times he's gotten beat, he changes up his sets all the time and changes the way he uses his hands.

"Reiff is the same way … (he has) versatility to play the left and the right," Zimmer added. "If something happens, I think that's a big bonus. He's a tough guy, and I think they'll add some physicality to the offensive line."

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