Pro Bowl Playmaker Could Soon Join Vikings

3 Free Agent RBs
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings put one game of the preseason game in the books Thursday night — and could soon add a former Pro Bowler to the running back room.

He’s Kareem Hunt, a free agent from Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns fame.

Pro Bowl Playmaker Could Soon Join Vikings

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweeted on the X app Friday afternoon, “Free-agent RB Kareem Hunt is visiting with the Vikings today, per source.”

Pro Bowl Playmaker
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports.

Hunt spent the last four seasons in Cleveland primarily as a backup to Nick Chubb. Before that, he took the league by storm in Kansas City, even winning the 2017 rushing title as a rookie. He was released in 2018 after a heavily-publicized assault incident that never resulted in formal criminal charges.

The Toledo alumnus also met with the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts this week, leaving both places without a contract.

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (27) takes the field before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FirstEnergy Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Cleveland, Ohio. © Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK.

If Hunt signs with the Vikings, he’ll join this running back room:

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

Any prospective interest in Hunt boils down to a simple question for Vikings fans — are Mattison, Nwangwu, Chandler, and McBride enough to get the job done on the ground in 2023? The club has vividly professed a desire and plan to run the football more in 2023, and it’s a bit strange that it decided such in the same offseason when Dalvin Cook skedaddled.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports.

Hunt has produced 4,025 rushing yards in 76 career games en route to 48 total touchdowns and a career average of 4.5 yards per carry. He’s also an adept pass-catching halfback, recording 211 receptions in six seasons as a pro.

It’s worth noting, however, that Hunt’s yards per attempt dipped from 4.9 in 2021 to 3.8 in 2022 behind a solid Browns offensive line.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports.

Former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman predicted a Hunt signing by the Vikings in July. He wrote for The 33rd Team, “Hunt’s touches decreased, but he’s still a powerful runner with excellent vision to catch the ball out of the backfield. He had some durability issues last season, so he’ll need to show he can stay healthy because he turns 28 in August. There are a handful of teams that still need backup running backs.”

Minnesota employed Spielman for 16 years before Kwesi Adofo-Mensah took over in 2022.

“One is the Dallas Cowboys, although I anticipate Ezekiel Elliott will re-sign there. The second is the Dolphins, but everyone is linking Cook there. Three is the Minnesota Vikings now that they’ve released Cook. They don’t have a proven commodity behind Alexander Mattison […] Hunt is an excellent No. 2 back if he can stay healthy,” Spielman added about Hunt’s potential fit in Minnesota.

Hunt turned 28 last week, the same age as Dalvin Cook.

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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