Latavius Murray's spring includes rehab and graduate school

MINNEAPOLIS -- The first major pursuit of Latavius Murray's spring is drawing to a close. The new Minnesota Vikings running back, who had surgery in March to clean up an ankle injury he suffered last fall, has been doing pool workouts and running on a specilaized treadmill as part of his rehabilitation process. He said Wednesday that he should be able to start running on the ground next week, and he figures to be ready for training camp.

"My rookie year, I had the same injury on the other foot," Murray said. "I've dealt with this rehab and dealt with this surgery. That's been a benefit for me because I'm feeling great, but I also knew what to expect. The rehab process has been really good."

Murray's other big endeavor this offseason is still a ways from concluding. He's working toward earning a Master of Business Administration at Syracuse by taking online classes while attending the Vikings' offseason program in Minnesota. The night the Vikings were finishing Murray's contract, they set him up in a conference room with a laptop so he could finish some coursework. He got two Bs during the spring semester and said he is on track for an A and a B in the summer semester.

Murray said Wednesday that he could be done with his graduate degree in a year's time. But as with many NFL players pursuing advanced degrees, Murray's challenge will be setting aside enough time to earn the necessary credits.

"It's hard because I want to do summer classes," the 27-year-old said. "But once training camp comes around, that's really the nitty-gritty time for me, football-wise and school-wise. That's when the finals will start picking up, at least in that semester. During the season, could I take maybe a class? I don't know. I have to do the bulk of it in the offseason."

Should Murray have a productive season in Minnesota, he'll be in line for a big raise in 2018, when he's scheduled to make $5.75 million. That substantial figure, coupled with the presence of second-round pick Dalvin Cook, means Murray must put together a strong season to stay with the Vikings beyond 2017.

"When I was brought into Oakland, I had two guys before me that had made an impact in the league," Murray said of having Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew ahead of him on the depth chart during his rookie season with the Raiders. "I'm sure Dalvin looks at his situation the same way for me. The more competition in one room, the better off the group can be. We have that right now, bringing Dalvin in and 'Jet' [Jerick McKinnon] already being there. I think right now is the time for everybody to get better, and once the season comes around and it's time for training camp, that's when the real battling is going to come in. That's when everyone's got to bring their best to separate themselves. I'm going to do everything I can, like I have in the past, to separate myself, and I'm sure those guys are going to do the same."