Vikings Rookie Could Be in Dicey Spot

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

When the Minnesota Vikings scooped running back DeWayne McBride out of Round 7 of the 2023 NFL Draft, many voices, national and local, had high hopes for the University of Alabama-Birmingham alumnus, especially the fantasy football crowd.

Vikings Rookie Could Be in Dicey Spot

But the young runner has not had a memorable summer and could teeter on a roster cut or a practice squad assignment.

Could Be in Dicey
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall (16) tosses the ball to running back DeWayne McBride (37) as they face the Titans at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023. © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK.

In the last week and a half, the Vikings searched high and low for an ‘extra’ running back, auditioning veterans like Kareem Hunt and Mike Davis and ultimately landing on undrafted free-agent Aaron Dykes from the University of Richmond for an RB6 job.

And with NFL roster cuts just eight days away, some signs indicate McBride could be on the outside looking in.

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports.

Foremost, this is the Vikings RB room with the third preseason game around the bend this weekend:

RB1: Alexander Mattison
RB2: Kene Nwangwu
RB3: Ty Chandler
RB4: DeWayne McBride
RB5: Abram Smith
RB6: Aaron Dykes

DeWayne McBride on First Impressions of Being a Viking & Translating College Success to the NFL.’s Tatum Everett talked with Minnesota Vikings rookie running back DeWayne McBride from the TCO Studios. The Vikings selected McBride in Round 7 of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Minnesota will keep four running backs at a maximum — it would be rather unconventional to retain more, plus fullback C.J. Ham — and most folks believed when the summer started that McBride would comfortably slide into an RB4 role.

Now, that forecast is questionable.

Adding Smith from the XFL and Dykes from undrafted free agency appears to indicate contingency plans at the position. Too, Kene Nwangwu is battling an injury, and that could last longer than once thought. We shall see.

Yet, the mere presence of six halfbacks, plus a fullback, on a roster that will dwindle to 53 men on August 29, is a crowded house. Ideally for McBride, the Vikings wouldn’t have needed Smith or Dykes because he had sewn up the RB4 gig. While that could still materialize, it feels less likely than it did around the start of June, for example.

Last Man
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports.

Meanwhile, during the second preseason game last weekend, Minnesota utilized McBride late in the game, which might be a nod to an upcoming waiver or practice squad fate. He rushed 6 times for 18 yards and a goalline touchdown. Men on track to make the active roster generally see action at the beginning of preseason games — not the end.

Finally, to the famous ‘eye test,’ McBride hasn’t quite ‘looked the part’ like Ty Chandler, for instance, this preseason. To the naked eye, he’s a bit slower than one might surmise — not a desired trait for a running back.

The Vikings will fire up a few surprises when the 53-man roster hits next week, and don’t be surprised if McBride is a waiver casualty or practice squad member. The hints are apparent.

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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