Vikings May Draft a RB, Too

Dec 18, 2021; Shreveport, LA, USA; UAB Blazers running back DeWayne McBride (22) breaks a tackle against the BYU Cougars linebacker Max Tooley (31) during the fourth quarter during the 2021 Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings seem to be on their way to a first-in-a-long-time running back by committee system, depending on the outcome of Dalvin Cook’s employment with the team.

Cook is scheduled for a $14.1 million cap hit this season, and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah re-signed Cook’s teammate Alexander Mattison in March for two years and $7 million. Approaching $20 million for a running back room may not be in the cards for Adofo-Mensah, who is known for an analytics embrace.

Vikings May Draft a RB, Too

And if the 2023 RB room turns out as Cook-less, the Vikings would roll with Mattison, second-year rusher Ty Chandler, and speed demon Kene Nwangwu.

But that may not be all.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweeted Wednesday, “UAB RB DeWayne McBride — who ran for over 3,000 yards and 32 TDs the past two seasons — is visiting the Vikings today, per source.”

May Draft a RB
Nov 13, 2021; Huntington, West Virginia, USA; UAB Blazers running back DeWayne McBride (22) celebrates after running for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports.

Adofo-Mensah has just five picks on the menu in the draft — a 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th — but fiendishly traded last year and many expect more of the same in 15 days. The “easiest” way to do so would be a trade back from the No. 23 pick, dipping into the draft’s alleged sweet spot, picks 20-80.

Trading back for more draft capital would become the likely path to drafting McBride, who, for now, has a 4th- or 5th-Round draft stock. In years past — not very long ago — McBride may have been designated as a 2nd-Rounder or so, but the NFL has changed, diminishing the importance of running backs seemingly by the minute.

Nov 13, 2021; Huntington, West Virginia, USA; UAB Blazers running back DeWayne McBride (22) jumps over Marshall Thundering Herd safety E.J. Jackson (21) during the third quarter at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports.

The University of Alabama-Birmingham product is classified as a “power back,” a style not employed by Minnesota since Latavius Murray left the team in 2019. McBride is 6’0″ and 215 pounds, and while not the fastest running back imaginable, he’s known for strength and balance. He was also 2021 2nd-Team All-Conference USA and 2022 1st-Team All-Conference USA.

The Draft Network describes the 21-year-old, “McBride has very good size for the position and is an above-average overall athlete. McBride is a patient running back who understands how to press the line of scrimmage while waiting for his blockers to get to their landmarks and wait for an opening. He displays outstanding vision and instincts as a runner as he naturally finds gaps in the line of scrimmage and consistently runs to open space when he reaches the second level.”

Mar 4, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama Birmingham running back Dewayne McBride (RB15) speaks to the press at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

TDN also assigned a player comp for McBride of Tyler Allgeier, the Atlanta Falcons current RB1.

Broadly speaking, if the Vikings have Cook, Mattison, Chandler, and Nwangwu on the mid-April depth chart, something’s gotta give before too long with Cook. There would be no reason to utilize four RB1 types in Cook, Mattison, Chandler, and McBride. Hosting McBride for a draft visit should further hint at an upcoming Cook trade — probably soon.

The Vikings have drafted one man in franchise history from UAB — Joe Webb in 2010.

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 Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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