Possible RB of the Future Returns to Vikings from IR

One of the Minnesota Vikings roster strong suits in 2022 is depth at running back, employing Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, and Kene Nwangwu.

Well, the RB room gets even deeper this week, as rookie halfback Ty Chandler was designated to return from Injured Reserve.

Chandler injured his thumb in Week 5 against the Chicago Bears and has missed seven weeks of action.

Vikings Preseason Rookie Watch
Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

A preseason standout, the news of Chandler’s return is semi-noteworthy because he could be the Vikings running back of the future. RB2 Alexander Mattison is in the final year of his contract, and the Vikings have an optional opt-out clause with Dalvin Cook’s deal after the 2022 season. Nwangwu is under contract through the end of 2024.

Chandler has played 28 snaps in two games so far in 2022, all on special teams. And in his second career game, the North Carolina alumnus broke his thumb, and that was all she wrote for about two months.

Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; San Francisco 49ers cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields (36) tackles Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The rookie performed tremendously in the preseason, considered by some a total gem who could even play RB1 for Minnesota in a pinch. The Vikings invest heavily at running back — mainly Cook’s large contract — so general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah opted for an embarrassment of riches at RB during the 2022 NFL Draft.

If the Vikings eventually pivot to Chandler as RB1 or RB2, it will probably occur soon. Chandler is 24 years old, an age coined “old” by rookie RB standards. Chandler is actually older than Mattison, and Mattison has played in the NFL for four seasons while Chandler is a rookie.

At Tennessee for four years and North Carolina for one, Chandler tabulated 3,138 rushing yards on 603 carries for a 5.2 per-carry average and 30 total touchdowns. He took home 2nd-Team All-ACC honors in 2021.

Vikings rookies Lewis Cine (S), Andrew Booth (CB), and Akayleb Evans (CB) are also on Injured Reserve.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).