Latavius Murray realizes Dalvin Cook has a head start on him in the battle to replace Adrian Peterson in Minnesota, but he still expects to be the No. 1 running back in Week 1 when the Vikings host the New Orleans Saints.
Murray, who signed with the Vikings as a free agent, didn't participate in the team's offseason activities after having ankle surgery in March. Appearing as a guest on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" on Tuesday, he said the Vikings' decision to trade up in the second round of the NFL draft to select Cook gives him motivation.
"It wasn't a surprise. When you see a guy, again, first-round potential sitting there in the second round, they snatch him up, you can't be surprised," he said. "It motivates me regardless, because they're always going to bring in somebody to take over for your position."
"This is my time, this is my opportunity. This is what I want. When it comes Game 1, I need to be back there lining up."Latavius Murray
Cook has impressed the Vikings this offseason and coach Mike Zimmer said the former Florida State running back has "a chance to be special." Murray though expects to win the training camp battle for the starting job.
"Dalvin's already been through (organized team activities), he's already been through the offseason. So, he has that up on me. But also, looking at it as, hey, I'm the vet, I have time in this league, I've done some good things in this league. So I have a lot to bring to the table," he said.
"(Cook is) looking at it from his aspect, 'Look this older vet is coming off this injury, it's time for him to step aside. I want this, and I should be the guy,'" he said.
"I'm looking at it from my perspective, like, look, this is my time, this is my opportunity," he said. "This is what I want. When it comes Game 1, I need to be back there lining up."
Although he's competing with Cook, Murray said he still plans to mentor the rookie just as Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece did with him when he was a rookie with the Oakland Raiders.
"It's going to come down to who is going to be the best player that can play. Because I give Dalvin knowledge and try to help him, doesn't mean, OK, that I shouldn't go out there and outperform him and outcompete," he said.