Is it time to draft a running back?

Mark Craig of the Startribune doesn’t seem to think the Vikings need to rush things at the running back position. But, with Toby Gerhart gone and Matt Asiata as the next man up, I’m just a dainty bit concerned. My curiosity as to what GM Rick Spielman might have up his sleeve pertaining to the backup tailback position has got the best of me. In Craig’s recent article, he shares an interesting quote from Spielman about the possibility of adding another ball carrier.

“I know you can’t go into the season with just two running backs,” Spielman said. “So that’s an area that we’ve talked about a couple of running backs that are currently out on the market. But we’ve also honed in on a couple of backs in the draft as well.”


The Vikings haven’t really been aggressively pursuing any backs in free agency, so maybe Spielman and company feel pretty good about a couple backs in this draft class.

 Norv Turner likes a back that can get the job done in the passing game, so I decided to stick my nose into a few scouting reports to see which backs Turner and the Vikings might be “honed” in on.

 I’m not 100% sold on Asiata as the #2 guy, but overall I like the youth, depth and talent of the backfield on the Vikings roster. With that said, it is my opinion that “if” Spielman wants to upgrade the backup RB spot, he will need to select one in the mid to late rounds of the 2014 draft.

 Here are 3 backs that rushed for over 1000 yards and were major contributors in the pass game as well.

 Bishop Sankey 5-9 209 lbs: University of Washington’s running back Bishop Sankey may not have the ideal size to be an every down workhorse at the next level, but he has the skill set to thrive and be very effective in a passing attack and also as a rotational change of pace back in the NFL.

 Bishop is a hard working team leader that got plenty of touches (653) in the running game for the Huskies over the past two seasons. In 2013, Sankey rushed for 1,825 yards breaking Corey Dillion’s school single-season rushing mark of 1,695 yards. Sankey topped 200 yards rushing three times last season helping the Huskies to 9-4 record. Sankey is a well rounded back that can also be effective in pass protection as well as catching the ball out of the backfield evident by his 67 career receptions.

Sankey preformed well at the combine with a 4.49 forty, benched 225 lbs 25 times, and recorded a 35.5 vertical jump.

 “I thought the Sankey kid caught the ball well, which I wanted to see him do.” said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock, who said Sankey was one of the better running back performers on the day. has Sankey ranked 63rd overall and the #4 running back in the class.

Drafttek has Bishop Sankey 37th on their board and mocks him to the Miami Dolphins at pick 50.

 Mike Miller has Shanky mocked to Oakland in the 3rd round at pick #67. has Sankey mocked in the 70th slot to Jacksonville, but that was before the Jags signed Toby.

 If Shankey’s lack of ideal size coupled with a soft demand on the running back market pushes him out of the second round, don’t be shocked if the Vikings take a look at him with the pick #72 in the third round.

Check out this video on YouTube:

Charlie Sims 6’0 214 lbs: One of the most consistent and effective pass protecting backs in the draft is West Virginia’s Charlie Sims. He is a good pass catcher with great burst and acceleration. Sims led the Mountaineers with 45 receptions for 401 yards in 2013.

 Sims is a versatile running back with great hand-eye coordination who hauled in 203 passes and averaged over 10 yards per catch in his college career. He is a good route runner that can also split out wide as a receiver. Sims’ 4.48 forty time was 8th among running backs at the combine. His 10’5 broad jump and 37.5 inch vertical is confirmation of the burst and suddenness that shows up on tape.

 The West Virginia offensive line was less than stellar and Sims still managed to rush for 1,095 yards with a 5.3 yard average in 2013.

Sims is not what I would call a slasher or dancer type, but he can certainly put his foot in the ground and move up field in a hurry. has Sims ranked 91st overall and the #7 running back in the 2014 draft.

 Drattek has Charlies Sims mocked to the Denver Broncos with the 127th pick in their latest 7 round mock draft.

Mike Miller has Sims mocked to the Browns in the 3rd round one spot before the Vikings pick at 72. has Sims mocked to Atlanta with pick #103.

Check out this video on YouTube:

 James White 5-9 204 lbs: White is an underrated overachieving running back who put together a fantastic four year career for the Wisconsin Badgers. 4,015 career rushing yards with an average of 6.2 yards per carry and 73 receptions lands him on my late round draft wish list.

 White’s career stats could have been even higher if it weren’t for the fact he had to share the backfield with Monte Ball and Melvin Gordon.

 White does a good job when it comes blocking and pass protection. He is a strong guy (23 bench reps), but his small frame can be knock backwards occasionally. White has a lot of experience when it comes to chipping on the edge and releasing into routes.

White has great hands and excels at catching the ball on the move. White has a very natural ability to transition smoothly from making the catch to running with the ball. has White ranked 161 overall and the #13 running back. ranks White as the #17 running back and gives him a 4th to 6th round grade.

 Drafttek has White going undrafted.

Check out this video on YouTube:

Honorable mention: The 2014 draft offers the Vikings some intriguing options at the running back position. Ka’Deem Carey, the 5-9 207 lbs RB from Arizona is another back to keep an eye on. His off field issues and a poor showing at the combine could push him into the mid rounds of the draft.

The Vikings will not use pick 8 or 40 on a running back, but 72, 96, 108 and 148 could be a sweet-spot range where a few quality backs could come off the board.