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Ben Tate preparing to contribute Sunday vs. Packers

Ben Tate doesn't have time to get relaxed in his new Minnesota digs before he's asked to play a role in the Vikings offense.

With Matt Asiata out of Sunday's contest against the Green Bay Packers with a concussion, Tate and Joe Banyard (zero NFL carries) are the only backs behind rookie starter Jerick McKinnon.

"I've got to all focus on football and let everything else happen," Tate said of dealing with switching teams during the middle of the season, per the Minnesota Star Tribune. "Whatever I got to do outside of that is secondary. The first thing is making sure I understand my plays and just coming out here ready to go, full speed, and being ready to help in any aspect needed."

Tate, who was cut by the Cleveland Browns this week after he complained about his role said he's just tried to bury himself in Norv Turner's playbook and get to know his teammates as much as possible.

We expect McKinnon to carry the overwhelming load for the Vikes on Sunday. However, when they need to spell him, the coaching staff might feel comfortable going with Tate as the spot backup. Coach Mike Zimmer specifically mentioned Tate's pass protection, which is always as good sign.

"He's got some explosiveness hitting the hole and obviously he's a big-bodied guy," Zimmer said. "He's done a good job with protection so far. So we'll see how it goes."

Tate hasn't shown much this season. The running back hasn't crossed the 37-yard mark since Week 6 and is averaging just 3.1 yards for the year. His chance to change that begins Sunday.

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