Jerick McKinnon is currently 28 years old and was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended a high school in Marietta, Georgia, where he played football and ran track. In football, McKinnon played quarterback, running back and wide receiver. He won the first team All-State at quarterback. He passed for 1,500 yards and rushed 1,300 more in his senior year in high school.
Considered a three-star recruit, he went to Georgia Southern University. Initially recruited as a quarterback, McKinnon eventually worked his way all over the field. In his four years at Georgia Southern McKinnon finished with an impressive 3,899 rushing yards and 42 touchdowns. In addition to running back, he also caught some passes, passed for almost 1,000 yards and played on special teams.
McKinnon received an invite to the 2014 NFL Combine where he measured in at 5’8 ?” and weighed 209 pounds. He initially ran a 4.41-second 40-yard dash but improved it to 4.35 unofficially. The Minnesota Vikings chose him in the 3rd round by the Minnesota Vikings.
Serving as the change of pace back for Adrian Peterson, in his rookie season, he only played in 11 games, rushing 113 times for 538 yards and catching 27 passes for 135 yards. In his second season, he played all 16 games, rushing 52 times for 271 yards and two touchdowns, rushing an impressive 5.2 yards per carry.
In 2016 McKinnon took over for Adrian Peterson after he tore his meniscus in Week 2. McKinnon played in 15 games, rushing 159 times for 539 yards and two touchdowns, also catching 43 passes for 255 yards and another two scores.
McKinnon entered the 2017 season as the backup to rookie Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray. After Cook tore his ACL in Week 4, he managed 150 rushes for 570 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also caught 51 passes for 421 yards and 2 touchdowns.
With McKinnon always being a timeshare, he left Minnesota to become the San Francisco 49ers' primary back. McKinnon signed a four-year deal worth $30 million. Unfortunately, during a team workout on September 1, McKinnon tore his ACL in his right knee as well as other damage and was placed on season-ending injury reserve.
Approximately one year later, heading into the 2019 season, McKinnon suffered a setback from his knee rehab and was again placed on season-ending injury reserve. Despite not having MacKinnon in 2019, the 49ers made it to the Super Bowl but unfortunately lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Let’s review McKinnon‘s injury history. He suffered a back injury while lifting weights forced him to miss the last five games of his 2014 rookie season. In 2016, in his third year in the NFL, he suffered a minor ankle injury that cost him one game. In early August 2018, he suffered a right calf strain. Less than three weeks later, he tore the right ACL as well as an LCL tear in his right knee.
One important thing to highlight is that about 2-3 weeks before McKinnon tore his ACL in his right knee, he suffered a calf strain in this same right knee. Even the mildest of calf strains take about two weeks to heal. That is two weeks of REST, not babying it a little bit and not running at 50%. That is shut it down for two weeks, then slowly ramp things back up. McKinnon tore his ACL about three weeks later.
Was the calf a predisposing injury for McKinnon? Likely yes. While the calf isn’t as crucial as a protector for the ACL as the hamstring is, any muscular weaknesses or imbalances in the leg are going to put additional stresses on THAT leg and the other leg.
Despite taking over one year to rehabilitate, McKinnon suffered a setback in August 2019 and had PRP injected in early August. He shut it down for two weeks. The exact injury was not clarified. Unfortunately, the PRP was not enough, and he suffered another setback in the same knee. After being placed on injured reserve for the second time in two seasons, McKinnon underwent second knee surgery on his right knee.
The ACL was reportedly fine, but there were other issues within the knee preventing him from fully returning. The concern for McKinnon is many athletes struggle to recover from an ACL tear, especially running backs. I’ve also noticed an additional concerning correlation that running backs who suffer torn ACL’s in the NFL seem to struggle to return to pre-injury level even more than athletes who tear their ACL in high school or college.
Not all ACL tears are equal. The amount of additional damage to the surrounding tissues, ligaments (PCL, MCL, LCL) as well as the small coronary ligaments, and, most importantly, the meniscus.
Meniscal tears are very commonly associated with ACL tears (and the most concerning), some studies show that there are meniscal tears in approximately 65% of ACL tears. The meniscus is essentially the shocks for the knee. Without the meniscus, we would all have severe arthritis by our mid-20s. The importance of the meniscus cannot be understated.
After the surgery the ACL itself heals well, but without a healthy meniscus to depend on, the athlete will likely struggle to return to pre-injury levels. Several athletes have never been able to return to the elite level of play required to be efficient and excel in the NFL after tearing their ACL. Of course, there are exceptions, like Adrian Peterson and Dalvin Cook, but many names have come and gone that have suffered torn ACLs and never were effective again.
The last time McKinnon suited up, he was in a Minnesota Vikings uniform, and it was at the end of the 2017 season, specifically in the NFC Championship game on January 21, 2018. After at least two surgeries and nearly two years of rehabilitation, it is unclear if McKinnon will ever be successful again.
During the offseason of 2018, the San Francisco 49ers signed Jerick McKinnon to a four-year $30 million contract, and halfway through, he has not earned a dollar. McKinnon is (hopefully) healthy for the first time but is now in a crowded backfield. Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman stand in his way.
McKinnon has never been a full-time back. Going back to Minnesota, he shared his time with Dalvin Cook and Adrian Peterson. McKinnon never had more than 159 carries, and McKinnon didn’t do much with them by averaging just 3.58 yards per carry. However, he has always been a weapon in the passing game catching 43 and 51 balls in 2016 and 2017.
His role won’t be much different in San Francisco. He is only 5’9” and weighs in at just 205 pounds, so any dreams of being a bell-cow are not realistic. Many teams don’t even carry three running backs to the game, but his receiving capability may keep him around.
The offense is solid. George Kittle is one of the best tight ends in football, and they have an exciting but injured wide receiver in Deebo Samuel (foot). Jimmy Garoppolo leads the unit, but the rest of the crew has role players instead of superstars. Players such as Trent Taylor, Jalen Hurd, Kendrick Bourne, and rookie Brandon Aiyuk.
The 49ers offensive line is a mid-tier group. There will be two new starters. Left tackle Trent Williams comes in from Washington. Williams is a multi Pro Bowl representative and will take over for the retired Joe Staley. Mike Person is no longer the right guard, and now there will be a battle between Daniel Brunskill and Tom Compton. Offensive line coach John Benton utilizes an outside zone scheme.
Sports Injury Predictor calculates that McKinnon has a 55.4% chance of injury in 2020, and expects him to miss about two games.
I (Dr. Morse) believe his injury risk is significantly higher, and I am not confident that he will play another game in his NFL career. Two years for an NFL running back is like an eternity. Especially when you’ve already been in the league for four years before missing those two years, and played all four years of college.
My risk score for McKinnon is 9 out of 10. The only reason I am writing this profile is that people requested it. After suffering the setback, and missing the past two years, the odds are not in McKinnon’s favor to return in 2020.
I (Dr. Morse) wouldn’t draft him unless as a late-round flier, and we had confirmation that he was not only healthy but indeed looked good in training camp.
It would take a lot of roadblocks to disappear for McKinnon to make a dent for the 2020 season. Injuries to Mostert and Coleman for one and his healthy rebound is another. At this point (late June), McKinnon is an RB79 and overall 272 in PPR leagues. He is not draftable. Instead, wait to see if either Mostert or Coleman gets hurt and then pick him up off the waiver wire.Injury Risk: High, 9/10.
|Projected Missed||Probability of injury per game ?||Probablity of injury in the season ?|
|Aug 27, 2019||Knee LCL Tear Grade 3||Jerick McKinnon missed all of 2019 season with a knee issues|
|Sep 1, 2018||Knee ACL Tear Grade 3||McKinnon tore the ACL in his right knee in practice on September 1. He later said that he also tore "other stuff" in the knee.|
|Aug 12, 2018||Leg Calf Strain||McKinnon went down in practice with a right calf strain.|
|Oct 23, 2016||Pedal Ankle Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||McKinnon injured his ankle but returned. He later aggravated it and missed the rest of the game and Week 8.|