Jerick McKinnon is feeling good, and that’s excellent news for the 49ers.
After losing all of 2018 to a knee injury, McKinnon is healthy again and ready to show his team and its fans what he can do in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
McKinnon suffered torn knee ligaments last summer after signing a four-year free-agent deal with San Francisco that could be worth as much as $30 million. After four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, the former third-round draft pick out of Georgia Southern was excited to come to the 49ers to be the team’s featured back.
At Minnesota he was a complementary, multi-purpose threat who had 142 total receptions and averaged 8.3 yards in 2017 on 51 catches out of the backfield.
Now, McKinnon – who’s taking part in the team’s just-begun offseason program – is eagerly awaiting his regular-season debut in a 49ers uniform. McKinnon believes he’ll be ready to fully participate in training camp, but he and the team aren’t setting any specific dates. McKinnon’s just working hard and getting ready.
“I’ve been running straight, cutting, all that type of stuff,” he told Chris Biderman of the Sacramento Bee. “It’s a timetable thing. But I feel good and I’m just excited for what’s ahead of me.”
If he returns fully healthy, McKinnon will be part of a threesome of quick, explosive backs that also would include former Atlanta Falcons standout Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida. Raheem Mostert also could be in the mix. Each can run and catch.
General manager John Lynch believes McKinnon has a fire to prove he can be an elite playmaker after being sidelined a year.
“Jerick is working incredibly hard,” Lynch told Biderman. “It was an unfortunate blow that happened to him, but you never like to see that and this year, last year, we were extremely excited that we had him, but he’s always had kind of a chip on his shoulder because that was his first opportunity to be the guy, and I’m sure he’ll have a bigger chip on his shoulder.”