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Vikings' Latavius Murray agrees Cook has earned starting job

Minnesota Vikings running back Latavius Murray (25) runs after the catch in the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers Aug. 27 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Latavius Murray won't begin the season as a starter, but he believes he has shown the Vikings he can have an important role.

Murray signed a three-year, $15 million contract as a free agent last March with the expectation of replacing the departed Adrian Peterson as the starting running back. But Murray missed valuable time recovering from ankle surgery, and rookie Dalvin Cook ended up winning the job without much competition.

"Dalvin has earned the starting position, and so I've just been looking at it that I need to continue to just really show them that regardless of being out for some time that I could obviously still play the game at a high level and show them all the reasons why they brought me in,'' Murray said.

Following March 22 surgery on his right ankle, Murray missed all of spring drills and didn't take the field in training camp until Aug. 7. He missed the first two preseason games while rounding into form and carried two times for 6 yards and caught two passes for 10 yards Aug. 27 against San Francisco in his only preseason appearance.

Murray is second on the depth chart entering the Monday night, Sept. 11, opener against New Orleans at U.S. Bank Stadium, which features the return of Peterson.

The Vikings had released a statement the day of Murray's surgery that he "was expected to fully recover and be available for training camp.'' Looking back at the procedure, Murray does not believe it took longer than anticipated to return to health.

"I was told it could be in this time frame, a matter of X amount of months to X amount of months,'' Murray said. "To be honest, I fell into that frame, so that was fine with me. You hope that it's obviously the shorter time frame, but every injury is different.

"The main thing is I'm happy I'm healthy now. Regardless of the time it took, it was about making sure I was healthy before I stepped back on the field.''

Boone shrugs off release

Guard Alex Boone, surprisingly waived Saturday by the Vikings, was diplomatic Wednesday, Sept. 6, in discussing his former team.

Boone signed a one-year deal Tuesday with Arizona to return to the NFC West, where he was with San Francisco from 2009-2015. Boone signed a four-year, $26.8 million contract with the Vikings in March 2016 and was cut even though he is due a guaranteed $3.4 million this season.

"At the end of the day, it's a business,'' Boone told reporters at the Cardinals practice facility. "I get it. This isn't my first rodeo. I'm just happy to get picked up here by a great group of guys."

The Vikings last season lost eight of their final 11 games to finish 8-8. They had numerous injuries on the offensive line, including going through five tackles and Boone missing two games at left guard.

"We dealt with a lot of things last year that were kind of unexplainable, but at the end of the day this business will go on as will I,'' Boone said.

Boone said he was heavily recruited to join the Cardinals, and that played a role in his decision to sign.

"Knowing a lot of guys on the team, knowing this is a championship-caliber team and them calling me (were factors),'' Boone said. "(Quarterback) Carson (Palmer) texted me, a couple of other guys texted me, asked if I wanted to come play. I've been in the West for a while, so glad to come back."

Newman's birthday

Terence Newman had his cake but didn't eat it.

The Vikings got their cornerback a cake for his 39th birthday Monday. Newman wasn't at Winter Park that day, but he opted not to have any of it when he showed up the next day.

Newman watches his diet and joked how he wants to continue looking 10 years younger.

"I got to keep this 29-year-old body looking good, you know,'' he said.

Newman is the NFL's second-oldest defensive player behind Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison, four months his senior.

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