New Minnesota Vikings running back Latavius Murray is giving up the jersey number he’s worn since he was a kid — not because someone who’s already on the team wears it, but because of someone who used to wear it for the Vikings.
Last week the Vikings declined to pick up their option on Adrian Peterson, the running back who has worn the No. 28 jersey for Minnesota the last 10 seasons. Early Thursday morning, the team announced it had signed Murray, who donned the same jersey number for the Oakland Raiders the previous four seasons.
“There wasn’t a thought in my mind to try and wear or ask for the #28,” Murray wrote in an Instagram post later that morning. “I have too much respect for AP and so much respect for what he’s done and what he means to this organization.”
Peterson, who turns 32 next week, led the league in rushing three times but was limited to 72 yards on 37 carries last season because of a meniscus tear in his right knee. He has yet to sign with another team.
Murray, 27, rushed for 2,278 yards and 20 touchdowns with the Raiders, including 788 yards and 12 touchdowns in 14 games last season. He wrote on Instagram that although he started wearing No. 28 as a child because of former Jacksonville and New England running back Fred Taylor but was inspired by Peterson to continue wearing it.
It remains to be seen what number Murray will wear with the Vikings. We just know what number it won’t be.
“I want to say to Vikings fans: I’m not here to replace #28, he’s irreplaceable,” Murray wrote. “I’m not here to be #28, there’s no one like him. I ask that you accept me for the player I am and know that I’m here to give you all I got and to win.”