EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- As a team, the Minnesota Vikings were able to execute a rushing attack that totaled 159 yards against the Chicago Bears in their first game without Dalvin Cook. That came from the collective efforts of Latavius Murray, who started his first game for Minnesota, Jerick McKinnon, Case Keenum, Adam Thielen and C.J. Ham.
But Murray didn't finish as the night's leading rusher. That title belonged to McKinnon, whose banner performance included leading the team in receiving.
Murray rushed 12 times for 31 yards, an average of 2.7 yards per carry. He didn't appear all that happy with his performance but vowed for improvement.
"There were times I was second guessing myself a little bit, didn't have my feet under me," Murray said. "Other than that, I felt I ran the ball well. There's still a lot more I can improve on. I think I can be a lot better and I will be a lot better."
Once Cook went down with a season-ending ACL injury, the Vikings had to alter their plan in the run game. That didn't necessarily mean they'd change the type of plays they run, but rather how they'd split up carries between the three backs that remained.
Minnesota won't feature a rusher the way it did with Cook, instead looking to ride whoever is hot. On Monday, that was McKinnon, who rushed for 95 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown in the third quarter, and totaled 51 yards receiving.
As McKinnon started to heat up, Murray's carries began to diminish. McKinnon outgained Murray in total yards 146-43 and held a 22-14 margin in touches in Week 5.
"We weren't quite as efficient with our runs early and then we kept pounding, kind of kept beating on the rock so to speak," offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "We found a way to be efficient at the end. Jerick was a big piece in that."
McKinnon's explosive touchdown run was the type of play the Vikings did not want to lose with Cook out for the season. In three seasons with the Oakland Raiders, Murray showed flashes of explosiveness, which he hopes to display against a Green Bay Packers defense that allows the 11th-most rushing yards per game.
"I do believe I'm explosive and capable of making explosive runs," he said. "I just have to go out there and do it, honestly.
"It's going to start with me and what I do with my carries. I know I'll be better. I have confidence that if I'm playing better, then I'll get more opportunities."
Murray wouldn't pin his slow start on the timing with his offensive line or the lack of reps he received when Cook was healthy. In the future, the benefit of added carries could yield more patience as a rusher.
On 10 of his 12 rushes, the running back gained 24 yards on runs between the tackles, according to ESPN Stats and Info. He only attempted to run outside right tackle Mike Remmers twice, which resulted in a seven-yard gain. He did not rush outside of the left tackle.
Before Cook was injured, Murray didn't see the field much and totaled 14 carries for 38 yards in four games. Though a bigger workload should help him get into a rhythm, the running back puts pressure on himself to make the most of the carries he gets and show why Minnesota can rely on him to start again.
"I just know what I'm capable of," he said. "I know what I'm able to do. I wouldn't say I'm disappointed. I'm just not satisfied. I have to continue to work and get better so I can do more."