Kevin O’Connell Comments on Kareem Hunt Sweepstakes

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The Minnesota Vikings will enter 2023 with a hodgepodge of running backs after the club said goodbye to Dalvin Cook in June.

Cook signed with the New York Jets on Monday.

Kevin O’Connell Comments on Kareem Hunt Sweepstakes

As of August 14th, this is the Vikings RB room:

RB1: Alexander Mattison
RB2: Kene Nwangwu
RB3: Ty Chandler
RB4: DeWayne McBride
RB5: Abram Smith

Minnesota will likely keep four running backs on the regular season roster, with Smith as the probable odd man out.

And a few days ago, the Vikings hosted former Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt for a free-agent visit. Hunt had previously met with the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts.

Comments on Kareem
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Hunt left Eagan without a contract, but such is the case frequently in the NFL, and the 28-year-old could still ultimately sign with the Vikings. Hunt was a Pro Bowler in 2017, led the NFL in rushing that season as a rookie, and has supported Nick Chubb in Cleveland as an RB2 for the last few years.

Over the weekend, Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell commented on Hunt’s free-agent trip to Minnesota and the implication, “It was much like we’ve done in other scenarios just trying to build a relationship, gain a little bit more information about that particular player and maybe a potential fit on our football team.”

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (27) reacts after running for a first down in the third quarter during an NFL Week 8 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. Nfl Cincinnati Bengals At Cleveland Browns Oct 31 0028.

Hunt has produced 4,025 rushing yards in 76 career games en route to 48 total touchdowns and a career average of 4.5 yards per carry. He’s also an adept pass-catching halfback, recording 211 receptions in six seasons as a pro.

“But we’re always just trying to explore every avenue. Not only to have the best training camp possible but looking forward to what certain position units look like,” O’Connell added about Hunt.

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (27) takes the field before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FirstEnergy Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Cleveland, Ohio. © Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Any prospective interest in Hunt boils down to a simple question for Vikings fans — are Mattison, Nwangwu, Chandler, and McBride enough to get the job done on the ground in 2023? The club has vividly declared a desire and plan to run the football more in 2023, and it’s a bit quirky that it decided such in the same offseason when Cook left town.

Meanwhile, another Vikings running back impressed during preseason action last week Ty Chandler. Against the Seattle Seahawks, Chandler tabulated 70 yards from scrimmage in about half a game at Lumen Field, even with a Vikings offensive line outfitted in reservist players and subsequent suspect performance.

Overhauled Teams
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If the Vikings don’t sign Hunt, it will mean they’re content with Chandler and his pals Kene Nwangwu and DeWayne McBride.

Minnesota has also worked out OG Dalton Risner and CB Ronald Darby in the last few weeks, with no contracts materializing from the visits as of yet.

The Vikings next preseason game occurs this Saturday night in Minneapolis against the Tennessee Titans.

Dalvin Cook (Jets) and Ezekiel Elliott (Patriots) signed free-agent deals Monday, meaning Hunt could follow suit with his next team at any minute.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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