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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 14: Latavius Murray #25 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball against the New Orleans Saints during the second half of the NFC Divisional Playoff game on January 14, 2018 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

As Dalvin Cook deals with another injury, the Minnesota Vikings will turn to Latavius Murray and Co. in hopes of having the ground game help carry the load on offense. 

The Vikings announced Sunday that Cook was inactive against the Philadelphia Eagles, with Murray getting the start at running back.

If the 2017 season was any indication, fantasy football owners should be keeping an eye on Murray in particular.

Last year, Cook tore his ACL just four games into his rookie season. The former second-round pick had been expected to be a big part of the offense, but the injury meant Minnesota had to work Murray and Jerick McKinnon into the offense more—and it worked out better than the team could’ve hoped.

This year, though, will be a test. McKinnon has moved on to the San Francisco 49ers, leaving rookies Mike Boone and Roc Thomas as the top depth options behind Murray.

Fantasy owners should for sure be zoning in on Murray. When Cook went down last year, Murray stepped up and helped the Vikings make a run to the NFC Championship Game. The 6’3″, 230-pound veteran piled up 842 yards and eight touchdowns during the regular season.

Any fantasy owners in a points-per-reception league may be out of luck, though. Murray had just 15 catches for 103 yards last year, with McKinnon (51 receptions for 421 yards and two touchdowns) serving as the main pass-catching back.

With McKinnon gone, the Vikings will need someone to emerge to fill his role. NFL analyst Lance Zierlein noted prior to the draft that Boone was a receiving option and a third-down back in college. Boone hauled in 65 catches for 596 yards and one score in college as a Cincinnati Bearcat.

Thomas had 54 receptions for 644 yards and two scores while splitting time between Auburn and Jacksonville State.

Murray will likely handle the majority of the carries should Cook miss more time, making him a solid fantasy option. Boone and Thomas, meanwhile, will be risky plays until one of them establishes himself as the go-to option out of the backfield on passing downs. 

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