The free agency free-for-all is less than a week away and the Vikings have finally started to show signs of life here recently.

On Wednesday, they informed running back Matt Asiata that he would be tendered as an exclusive rights free agent.  As a result, Asiata will play under a one year deal worth $570,000.  According to the Pioneer Press, Asiata’s agent first learned of the team’s intentions during the NFL Scouting Combine, but the move hardly comes as a surprise to anyone involved.

Asiata is 26 years old and finally got to see some real NFL action towards the end of last season when both Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart were injured.  He ended the season with 44 carries for 166 yards (3.8 yard average) and three touchdowns.  All three touchdowns came in one game against Philadelphia, less than two months after he tragically lost his father.

Asiata’s new contract is a good sign for him, as is the fact that he’s already met with offensive coordinator Norv Turner, but his spot on the roster is far from secure.  Adrian Peterson sits atop the depth chart with Bradley Randle, Joe Banyard, and Asiata currently slated to duke it out for playing time.  It is also highly unlikely that the Vikings don’t add competition at some point this offseason.

There are about a dozen mid-tier running backs preparing to become free agents next week.  Another 25 to 35 draftable talents at the running back position will be available throughout the 2014 NFL Draft.  The opportunity to gather more talent with minimal investment will certainly be there.