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Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon says expectation is 'to go to the Super Bowl'

Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon (21) sign autographs at training camp at Minnesota State University Wednesday. Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS — It is safe to assume Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon has daydreamed about trotting onto the field during the introductions of Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium.

"I like to write (my goals) down and then visualize," McKinnon said after Tuesday, Aug. 8's final training camp practice in Mankato. "I write it down and then visualize it. ... That's how I go about doing things."

His No. 1 goal for this season? To play in the final game of the season.

"My expectation is to go to the Super Bowl," McKinnon said. "You know, personally I have things set aside that I've jotted down that I want to do. My main focus is to go to the Super Bowl. Make the playoffs, first of all, and then go to the Super Bowl. I think that's the whole team's mind-set and attitude right now, and I think that's what makes us want to get better every day."

McKinnon is battling for reps at running back alongside rookie Dalvin Cook, who recently was named the starter, and Latavius Murray, who joined the team as a free agent in the offseason.

Perhaps the best thing about that backfield trio, McKinnon said, is that each player brings a different skill to the table. "You can't have three running backs with the same role," he said.

"That will be distributed toward the end of camp as far as how that's going to play out," McKinnon said of playing time. "I just come in with the mind-set every day to get better. Just focus on the details and be efficient on the runs I have in practice."

Family matters

Vikings receiver Cayleb Jones will fulfill a lifelong dream during Thursday's preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, sharing the field with younger brother, Zay Jones.

Cayleb Jones is fighting for a roster spot with the Vikings after signing on with the practice squad last season; Zay Jones is essentially a lock to make the Bills' roster after being selected in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Their father, Robert Jones, played 10 seasons in the NFL as a linebacker with the Dallas Cowboys (1992—95), St. Louis Rams (1996—97), Miami Dolphins (1998—2000) and Washington Redskins (2001), and their uncle Jeff Blake was a journeyman NFL quarterback for more than a decade.

Hello, old friend

When the Vikings take the field Thursday in Buffalo, they will see a familiar face on the opposing sideline: former head coach Leslie Frazier, who is now the Bills' defensive coordinator.

Frazier went 21-32-1 in parts of four seasons with the Vikings, including his time as the interim head coach in 2010. He was fired after the 2013 season, when the team finished 5-10-1.

The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.

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