Vikings Fans on Pins and Needles about RB1

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Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler fired up the team’s most consistently dominant individual rushing performance since 2021 last weekend, a regrettable loss at the Cincinnati Bengals.

Chandler banked 132 rushing yards on 23 carries, with a touchdown as the cake-topper.

Vikings Fans on Pins and Needles about RB1

Now, though, nobody knows if he earned the RB1 job henceforth.

on Pins and Needles
Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler (32) dives for the end zone as Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt (57) and Cincinnati Bengals safety Dax Hill (23) defend in the first quarter of a Week 15 NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Cincinnati Bengals, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. © Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Chandler got the nod in Week 15 because incumbent RB1 Alexander Mattison was sidelined with an ankle injury. And that was after weeks — arguably months — of Vikings fans requesting Chandler as the RB1. He finally gained his opportunity and shattered it beyond belief.

However, the Vikings’ current coaching staff adores Mattison, so when he is cleared to play, as early as this weekend versus the Detroit Lions, it is unclear if Chandler or Mattison will fetch the majority of snaps.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The knock on Chandler is — or at least was — pass blocking. Picking up blitzing defenders is Mattison’s forte, whereas Chandler usually pales in comparison. Last Saturday, however, Chandler did a decent job blocking, meaning he might’ve done enough to prove his worth.

Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell addressed the RB1 matter on Monday, “Alex is going to try to work himself back this week, we’ll see how he does throughout the week. There’s no question that I thought Ty had a huge role and impact on the game the other day and we’ve been giving Ty more and more carries throughout the middle part of the season especially going back to losing Cam Akers for the duration of the year.”

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In five seasons, Mattison has never tallied 132 rushing yards in a single game, Chandler’s total from Week 15. Mattison’s career-high was 113 yards in a 2021 showdown with the Lions.

O’Connell said about Chandler, “Ty is absolutely a guy that is going to continue to see a featured role in our offense. What that looks like moving forward, as far as who gets the first touch of the game and all those things, we’ll continue to work through based upon what we’re attempting to do scheme-wise but there’s no question that we have confidence in Alex but Ty has done a lot of great things and will continue to do so and hopefully be a huge reason why we’re able to have some success offensively down the stretch.”

Not on Good Track
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Ideally, the Vikings would showcase salt and pepper with Mattison and Chandler. But that strategy hasn’t got off the ground in 2023. Only until Saturday versus the Bengals did Minnesota’s ground game fully cook, and Chandler was the culinarian.

With Chandler or Mattison at RB1 this weekend, the Vikings are a three-point home underdog against Detroit.

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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