The 49ers gave running back Jerick McKinnon a four-year, $30 million contract, a lot of money for a running back in today’s NFL. McKinnon’s former coach thinks the 49ers will get their money’s worth.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said McKinnon is a player he would have loved to continue coaching.

After moving around their own schedule and dealing with a treacherous January slate, which included four stretches of three games in four nights, the Nuggets saw improved shooting percentages. In fact, after losing to Phoenix on Jan. 19, the team held only three practices over the next few weeks, during which they posted a 6-2 record and saw their offensive rating climb to a league-best 113.9 points per 100 possessions.

“Everybody’s been playing fresh and playing fast,” Nuggets guard Gary Harris said then, according to The Daily Camera newspaper, which first reported the surge. “Maybe we might have caught onto something right there.”

Entering the 2017-18 season, in the wake of growing criticism from several star players and health experts, the NBA altered its regular-season slate, eliminating stretches of four games in five days for the first time in league history, reducing five-games-in-seven-days sets and trimming 57 total back-to-backs, among other adjustments while beginning the regular season one week earlier.

He was waived/injured by Minnesota in September and spent time on Carolina’s practice squad during the season. The Jets will see if they can get something more out of Hodges in 2018.

“I don’t even know if it’s psychological,” Popovich said. “It’s a fact. You can count the hours. Especially if you play a TV game, like a ridiculous 8 o’clock game on the West Coast — by the time it finishes, what if you have an overtime? And then you lose an hour going to Denver and then you take that drive from the airport all the way [to downtown], then are you going to shootaround the next day? You take the day off. You don’t do it.”

Indeed, it’s not unusual to see teams having a rest day or two in Denver before facing the Nuggets.

“But here’s the funny thing,” Malone continued. “Last season, the NBA is trying to avoid that situation. They gave us four of those games. Where we had to travel from L.A., San Francisco or Golden State, or Sacramento rather, to come home and play the second night of a back-to-back at home.”