Jerick McKinnon headed to the Bay Area to join the 49ers

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It came as a bit of a shock when on Wednesday morning, reports came in that the San Francisco 49ers had signed running back Jerick McKinnon to a four-year deal worth $36.9 million.

"Jerick has proven to be an extremely versatile football player whose speed, elusiveness and tackle-breaking ability make him a very hard matchup for defenses", Lynch said.

If the value of McKinnon's contract with the 49ers is indeed true, his average salary will be the fourth-highest among National Football League running backs in 2018.

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McKinnon never established himself as a starter with the Vikings, but when Dalvin Cook tore his ACL past year, he performed well as part of a two-headed attack with Latavius Murray. Already in-house, San Francisco has undersized scat back Matt Breida along with 2017 preseason hype candidate Joe Williams and Tampa Bay castoff Jeremy McNichols. Despite playing second fiddle to Peterson, McKinnon registered 444 yards from scrimmage while averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

McKinnon thanked the Vikings' organization and his former teammates in a series of tweets Wednesday.

McKinnon had his most productive season past year, when he ran for a career-high 570 yards while setting personal bests with 51 catches for 421 yards.

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In 2017, McKinnon shared the Vikings' backfield with fellow running back Latavius Murray, after rookie running back Dalvin Cook was lost for the year after sustaining an early-season ACL injury. His best fantasy finish came this past season when he ranked 24th among running backs in PPR scoring.

ESPN first reported the deal. He has rushed for 1,918 yards with an average of 4.0 yards per carry, has 142 catches for 984 yards, and has scored 12 touchdowns. Only two running backs in the league, Freeman and McCoy, have larger overall contracts.

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