Vikings Waive Last Year’s Preseason Hero

Aug 27, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond (11) hands off to running back AJ Rose. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings signed wide receiver Albert Wilson on Tuesday, situating the roster at 91 men when the summer cutoff is 90 players.

Accordingly, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah waived running back A.J. Rose to make room for Wilson.

Wilson will vie for a WR4 or WR5 job in Minnesota, with a potential eye on a punt-returning job. He was a jack of all trades in college at Georgia State back in the early 2010s.

For Rose, well, it’s the end of a mini-era, as the running back made a name for himself as a preseason hero during the 2021 preseason. Led by first-year offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak last year, the Vikings offense resembled rubbish in three preseason games — except for Rose.

Aug 27, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back AJ Rose. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Rose rushed for two touchdowns in the final preseason game of 2021 versus the Kansas City Chiefs, the only semblance of offense for the Vikings in the game. Thereafter, Rose was jettisoned to the practice squad while fans wondered why the Kentucky alumnus wasn’t quite good enough for the 53-man roster. The sentiment echoed Kyle Sloter mania from 2017 to 2019.

Against backup players for the Chiefs, Rose indeed looked the part. The 2021 season was the first for the 24-year-old, so Rose is likely to catch on elsewhere — if he isn’t signed back by Minnesota later this summer.

Aside from the obvious Wilson addition, the release of Rose can be attributed to one transaction — the drafting of rookie running back Ty Chandler in April’s draft. Adofo-Mensah chose Chandler in the 5th R0und of the 2022 NFL Draft from North Carolina, and his presence on the depth chart canceled Rose’s job security.

Too, as the NFL continues to evolve into pass-happiness, wide receiver is a more premium position — by a mile — than running back. And Rose’s departure is evidence of the trend.

Aug 14, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back AJ Rose. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings now employ five RBs:

  • RB1: Dalvin Cook
  • RB2: Alexander Mattison
  • RB3: Kene Nwangwu
  • RB4: Ty Chandler
  • RB5: Bryant Koback

The news of Rose’s release is a bit surprising as most onlookers of the Vikings would’ve forecasted Koback as the chopping-block candidate.

The Vikings mandatory minicamp begins on June 7th.

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 Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).