Latavius Murray with Vikings offers fantasy clarity

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Another domino has fallen in the free agent running back game. Latavius Murray signed a reported three-year deal worth $15 mililon with the Minnesota Vikings. That move likely officially puts a cap on Adrian Peterson's career in the Twin Cities as the Vikes try to solve their running back situation.

For Murray, he goes from running behind one of the NFL's best offensive lines in Oakland to one that struggled to generate any real semblance of a running game in 2016. The Vikings averaged a mere 3.2 rushing yards per attempt last season -- worst in the league. Minnesota has added linemen Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers so far in free agency with the hope that it opens up some of those clogged running lanes.

For his part, Murray's 2016 was a bit of step back from his 2015 campaign but a 4.0 yards per carry average and 12 touchdowns gave him quite a bit of fantasy appeal. The trouble came from never fully claiming the workhorse running back job in a backfield that also featured DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard.

Now he takes his game to Minnesota where he'll try to replace one of the franchise's legends. Murray won't make anyone forget about Peterson in his prime, but he is currently five years younger and doesn't have the accumulated wear-and-tear. His touchdown-scoring prowess will serve as a solid replacement for Matt Asiata, who was the team's goal-line banger over the past couple of seasons. The Vikings rebuild of the offensive line will ultimately have an impact on Murray's production. If it doesn't get any better, Murray will need to figure out how to break tackles which he was fairly pedestrian at last year. Nonetheless, his potential opportunity should keep him as a fringe RB1 this year.

The move also reinforced Jerick McKinnon as the Vikings' third-down and pass-catching back. Murray has never established himself as a three-down back while McKinnon has fared pretty well in the role last year, catching 43 balls.

Meanwhile back in Oakland, the door has been opened for Washington and Richard to engage is a camp battle to be the Raiders starter in the backfield -- provided the team doesn't add another rusher in free agency or the draft. Both players flashed as rookies, combining for 958 rushing yards on 170 carries (5.6 ypc) and making the Raiders believe Murray was expendable. Having two dependable backs is good news for Oakland but not so much for fantasy managers having to choose between them. As long as neither fails to grab a featured role, neither will be worth more than an RB2/3 slot on your roster.

In the meantime, the wait goes on for Adrian Peterson with fewer opportunities available to him. The music plays but chairs are filling up. Where he ultimately lands will continue to be one of the bigger intrigues of this free agent period.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for Follow him on Twitter @MarcasG or on Snapchat at marcasg9.

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