ESPN Names RB2 Favorite for Vikings

Source: New Starting RG Emerges as Vikings Frontrunner
Jun 8, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive linemen perform drills during mandatory mini camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings will showcase roster battles at WR2, NT, DT, CB2, CB3, FS, and perhaps kicker in less than three weeks at training camp as the club prepares for Season No. 2 under head coach Kevin O’Connell.

ESPN Names RB2 Favorite for Vikings

The franchise hopes to maintain its NFC North-winning standard of winning after finishing 13-4 last year.

And in addition to the roster competitions above, the RB2 spot is shrouded by mystery, with three men vying for the gig: Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu, and DeWayne McBride. But according to ESPN, Chandler appears set to snatch the RB2 job, outlined in an article this week by Kevin Seifert.

ESPN Names RB2
Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sean Mannion (14) hands off to running back Ty Chandler (32) during the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Seifert previewed Minnesota’s 2023 offense and titled an entire section, “Ty Chandler appears the favorite at No. 2 RB.”

Chandler broke his thumb as a rookie last year, spending most of 2022 on injured reserve. He netted 6 rushing attempts for 20 yards — all in a meaningless Week 18 game at Soldier Field, where the Vikings took down the Chicago Bears. Now, though, he’s evidently biding his time for RB2 behind Alexander Mattison, the presumptive RB1 who took over for Dalvin Cook. The longtime Viking, Cook, was released on June 9th as a cap casualty.

Thoughts on Vikings 2022 Draft Picks in Preseason Opener & Outstanding Rookie Class of 2020
Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler (32) carries the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders during a preseason game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

Seifert explained about Chandler, “It looks from the outside that the Vikings want Chandler to win the role, even if the competition ultimately expands to include seventh-round pick DeWayne McBride, whom O’Connell referred to during minicamp as ‘the rookie.'”

The Vikings found Chandler in Round 5 of the 2022 NFL Draft, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s first in charge as Minnesota’s general manager.

“Chandler ran a 4.38 in the 40-yard dash at the 2022 combine, and Nwangwu ran a 4.32 at his 2021 pro day. Testing times don’t always translate into explosive plays on the field, but both players’ speed gives them a chance to be natural complements to Mattison,” Seifert added regarding Chandler’s skillset.

Mar 4, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; North Carolina running back Ty Chandler (RB07) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Seifert also quoted offensive coordinator Wes Phillips, who asked if Chandler was ready to climb the 2023 depth chart, “I think he’s going to have to be […] Ty’s a guy that we’re continuing to give opportunities in both the run game and the pass game. He’s getting better every day.”

And, let’s face it — the time is now for Chandler. He turned 25 in May and was an ‘old’ rookie from the jump coming out of the University of North Carolina. In fact, he’s older than the aforementioned Mattison, who’s been in the NFL since 2019.

Vikings Activate Rookie
Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler (32) celebrates with Minnesota Vikings guard Ed Ingram (67) after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Chandler ‘looked the part’ during the preseason last summer. He passed the eye test, albeit in a preseason format. With Cook looking for a new team and the Vikings likely pivoting to more of a committee approach at running back, somebody must step up as a trustworthy RB2.

Per ESPN, Chandler is the early favorite.

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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