How much of a factor will Jerick McKinnon be for Chiefs?

The Chiefs RB has been sensational in postseasons past.

Kansas City Chiefs v New England Patriots
Kansas City Chiefs v New England Patriots / Kathryn Riley/GettyImages

It's a good time of year to be labeled as the third-down back for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Over the last few years, the postseason has become an unexpected stage for backup halfbacks for the Chiefs. In the process, players like Damien Williams and Jerick McKinnon have had far more than their fair share of heroic moments in the spotlight—as they've somehow been tasked with disproportional offensive responsibilities for their positions. Then again, it's worked as the Chiefs have brought home two of the last four Lombardi Trophies.

The Chiefs RB has been sensational in postseasons past, but what about now?

So what about this year? Can McKinnon put up another strong Super Bowl performance?

This year, McKinnon is still technically on injured reserve with just under a week left to go before Super Bowl LVIII. He's been in and out of the lineup since early November with a groin injury that refuses to go away. The Chiefs finally placed McKinnon on injured reserve near the end of the regular season and he had surgery to repair the issue.

What's interesting is that the Chiefs recently designated McKinnon to return from IR, opening him up to return to practice in the days leading up to Super Bowl 58. The Chiefs will now be able to officially watch him give it a go on the practice field while making their final roster decisions about who will suit up against the San Francisco 49ers. For many fans, it was a shock to see McKinnon as an option.

With his history, McKinnon could be a valuable weapon once again in the '23 postseason. In 2021, McKinnon put up 315 yards from scrimmage in 3 postseason games to provide a serious spark of production—an incredible number for a player who had 169 yards from scrimmage during that regular season.

This time around, however, can McKInnon provide such a boost again? He's coming off of an injury-laden year that's limited him to 12 games played and only 252 yards from scrimmage overall. He's also 31 years old and the Chiefs might be more inclined to look at Clyde Edwards-Helaire for any production out of the backfield beyond Isiah Pacheco.

Then again, the Chiefs have designated McKinnon to return and they know what they have to work with. Perhaps they like McKinnon's hands and ability to block as an option for Mahomes at certain times over the likes of Edwards-Helaire. Either way, the Chiefs have left that door open and the Niners will have to consider all possibilities as they prepare for Super Bowl LVIII.