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Jerick McKinnon headed to 49ers, reportedly as one of NFL’s highest-paid RBs

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Jerick McKinnon is headed to Santa Clara. (Courtesy Kyle Engman/Flickr)
By Andrew Krammer | Star Tribune

Jerick McKinnon wanted more in Minnesota. He found more in San Francisco.

McKinnon, 25, is headed to the 49ers, a league source confirmed to the Star Tribune. It’s a four-year contract that will reportedly pay him up to $30 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He can officially sign the new deal after free agency opens, when he’s expected to become one of the league’s highest-paid running backs at $7.5 million per season. However, his actual guaranteed money is unreported and will tell the immediate impact.

McKinnon was unlikely to ever return to the Vikings, saying so following the NFC title game loss in Philadelphia.

“I don’t put in all the work in the offseason to come back and be in this role,” McKinnon said in late January. “I appreciate the role. It worked out well, but I want bigger and better things for myself. We’ll see what happens.”

McKinnon was a reliable passing-down back for the Vikings, and asked to play a larger role on multiple occasions. He first stepped in as a rookie when Adrian Peterson was suspended, averaging nearly five yards on 140 touches. He leaves with 1,918 rushing yards and 984 receiving yards under his belt.

The 49ers gets a running back built for today’s NFL. McKinnon was an engine who drove the Vikings screen game as a superior athlete in space. His seven catches of at least 20 yards last season ranked third on the Vikings. He gained a career-high 991 yards from scrimmage with five touchdowns while splitting the load with Latavius Murray.

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