3 Free Agent RBs for Vikings to Target

It’s conceivable that the Minnesota Vikings have seen both Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison play their last games in purple. Should that be the case, only Kene Nwangwu and Ty Chandler remain realistic roster options. Short of drafting another back, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could look to free agency for an answer.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Dalvin Cook underwent surgery to repair a shoulder issue. Apparently, it is something he has been playing with for some time, and the thought could be that he is attempting to clear up medicals before joining a new team. His cap hit isn’t pretty, and Minnesota may look to acquire whatever draft capital they can get for him.

3 Free Agent RBs for Vikings to Target

Behind Cook, Mattison has done well in a rotational role. He looks the part of a guy who could start for several teams in the NFL, but he also may be looking for a payday. With Kevin O’Connell opting to air the ball out, Minnesota may benefit from a cheaper stable of running backs, and there are a few names on the open market that could make sense.

In looking at where the Vikings could turn, it would seem best to avoid players carrying substantial price tags. Samaje Perine is a name I have previously discussed, but someone along that line of thinking could make sense. Here are a trio of names to consider:

Kareem Hunt

3 Free Agent RBs
Sep 11, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (27) runs for a touchdown in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

Entering the league and immediately leading the NFL in rushing yards, Hunt was a prolific player in Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs offense. He was released in 2018 following legal troubles. Hunt later resurfaced with the Cleveland Browns.

He was never the featured back running behind Nick Chubb, but that could mean there is plenty of tread left on his tires. Last season, Hunt played in all 17 games and generated just shy of 4.0 yards per carry. He is an adept receiver out of the backfield and could be a bigger complimentary back to Chandler.

Kenyan Drake

Dec 4, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Kenyan Drake (17) runs after the catch during the second half Denver Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports.

It’s been a while since Drake was a starter for the Arizona Cardinals, but like Hunt, his rotational usage could have saved some wear as he ages. Last season with the Ravens, Drake posted 4.4 yards per carry on just over 100 touches.

He scored double-digit rushing touchdowns as recently as 2020, and while he’s not a speed back by any means, he could represent a strong complement to what Minnesota already has on the roster.

David Montgomery

The Vikings Have One Large Problem
Oct 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery (32) scores a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The premier name on this list, Montgomery could draw favor from Vikings fans in that he played for Iowa State during college. Spending the first four seasons of his career with Chicago, the Vikings know Montgomery well. He has started 51 of the 60 games he’s played in the NFL, and his consistency from a production standpoint has been nothing short of straightforward. He is a capable receiver, and while he may want a more traditional starting role, he did cede plenty of work to Tarik Cohen with the Bears.

It would seem counterproductive for the Vikings to move on from Cook and then use either significant cap space or draft capital on the running back position. Looking to spread those funds elsewhere, hitting on a more economical talent could make a lot of sense.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.