Don’t Be Surprised if Vikings Get New RB1 Soon

free agent
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Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers spent Week 2 as a healthy scratch Sunday, as his team lost to the hot San Francisco 49ers, 30-23.

And according to NFL insider Jay Glazer, the Rams have reportedly tossed the once-promising halfback on the trade block.

Don’t Be Surprised if Vikings Get New RB1 Soon

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings have hardly run the football in 2023 — like at all — tallying just 26 rushing attempts in two games, a puny figure even in today’s pass-happy NFL. The Vikings host the 0-2 Los Angeles Chargers next weekend in a bout reeking of desperation for both squads.

Vikings Get New RB1
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Akers to Vikings, via trade or eventual outright release and subsequent free-agent acquisition, makes all the sense in the world, and here’s why.

The Kevin O’Connell Connection

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Vikings skipper Kevin O’Connell and Akers crossed paths for two seasons in Los Angeles while O’Connell served as offensive coordinator. Akers’ 2021 campaign was cut short by a season-ending injury, and his teammates, along with O’Connell, won a Super Bowl without him.

And since that Achilles injury, Akers hasn’t really been showcased since, at least not as a true-blue RB1. With O’Connell in the saddle, the Vikings have already shown an affinity for onboarding former Rams, like Brandon Powell and Johnny Mundt, plus stints with Troy Reeder and Bobby Evans.

O’Connell will know what Akers brings to an offense, and if that opinion is favorable, Akers should be gettable for a late-round draft pick or free-agent signing if Akers is released.

Alexander Mattison’s Struggles

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In fairness to Mattison, Minnesota isn’t consistently running the football — or even trying. Period. The Vikings 26 rush attempts are the third-fewest in NFL history through the first two games of a season.

Still, when Mattison is handed the rock, he’s averaging 3.3 yards per carry behind an offensive line that isn’t pulling its weight. The Vikings may believe they need more juice at RB1 and could use Akers as an “excuse” to afford a little more commitment to the run.

Too, Minnesota auditioned veterans Kareem Hunt and Mike Davis late in the summer before signing Myles Gaskin, the team’s current RB3. They were interested seven weeks ago in another running back, and Akers is a more dynamic commodity than Hunt, Davis, or Gaskin.

The Smoke

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Pro Football Focus’ Jackson McIntire tweeted Sunday night, “Cam Akers is a Viking tomorrow btw.”

RotoWire editor Anthony Cervino posted on the X app after the Glazer-Akers revelation, “Cam Akers to the Vikings with Kevin O’Connell makes too much sense.”

Bleacher Report’s Jack Murray named the Vikings as a landing spot for Akers, too, on Sunday and made the case, “The Vikings parted ways with long-time back Dalvin Cook in the offseason and appeared keen on handing the keys over to Alexander Mattison. His 2023 has not gotten off to a hot start, as he only has 62 yards on 19 carries and notably lost a fumble during the team’s Week 2 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. This is obviously not a reason to part ways with him but Mattison has been successful in a tandem situation in the past, so acquiring Akers could be a solid option to boost his productivity.”

The theory is already out in the atmosphere.

Kwesi’s Modus Operandi

The Vikings Will Stay Close to Home in 2023
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Read ’em and weep — T.J. Hockenson, Jalen Reagor, and Ross Blacklock.

Minnesota’s general manager, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, has shown an ardor for acquiring former high-round draft picks at a bargain. Akers fits the criteria.

The Rams chose Akers in Round 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft, and Adofo-Mensah has a soft spot for players with high upside — even if the Reagor and Blacklock experiments flopped. The Hockenson trade did not. Adofo-Mensah wouldn’t have to spend much draft capital on Akers, probably a fifth-rounder or so, and that’s if Los Angeles doesn’t release him in the coming days.

Akers-to-Vikings shouldn’t be discounted as a nothingburger.

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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