Vikings on Shortlist for Free Agent RB

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The Minnesota Vikings employ several running backs but no imminent solution to a rushing problem.

The club ranks 29th in rushing yards through 10 weeks — also known as fourth-worst — despite trying different running back combinations, including Alexander Mattison, Cam Akers, and Ty Chandler.

Vikings on Shortlist for Free Agent RB

Minnesota added Myles Gaskin back to the practice squad this week after the Los Angeles Rams cut ties with the tailback a few days ago. He might be enough to fortify RB depth after Cam Akers was placed on injured reserve, but if the Vikings want more alternatives, another man is available as of Tuesday.

Shortlist for Free
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He’s Michael Carter, a 24-year-old tailback just waived by the New York Jets. NFL Network‘s Tom Pelissero tweeted Tuesday, “Michael Carter heads to waivers, freeing up snaps for Dalvin Cook as the Jets look to spark their offense.”

Carter will hit the waiver wire, meaning teams in reverse order of win-loss standings get a crack at his services. For example, the Carolina Panthers, followed by the New York Giants, will get first dibs.

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Soon after Carter’s waiver, Pro Football FocusNathan Jahnke tweeted, “My guess is Michael Carter ends up with the Packers, Rams or Vikings.”

The Vikings certainly need a productive running back, but it is unclear if Carter would provide the special sauce and become an upgrade over the team’s current options. Heading into a Week 11 matchup with the Denver Broncos, these are the Vikings available RBs:

  • Alexander Mattison
  • Ty Chandler
  • Kene Nwangwu
  • DeWayne McBride (PS)
  • Myles Gaskin (PS)
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Last year, on 114 rushing attempts, Carter ranked second-to-last in the NFL per EPA/rush, a circumstance that is already adversely affecting the Vikings in 2023. Adding Carter might cause the Spider-Man meme in real life. Only Leonard Fournette performed worse per EPA/rush in 2022 than Carter.

Still, Carter has played in 39 NFL games, starting 21 and tabulating 1760 yards from scrimmage on 361 career touches. That’s 4.9 yards per touch. The veteran runner is arguably more effective as a receiver out of the backfield, grabbing 92 receptions for 681 since 2021.

Carter was a 4th-Round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, 12 spots before the Vikings selected Kene Nwangwu.

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New York will now focus on a backfield primarily using Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook, with a side dish of Israel Abanikanda in the “Carter role.”

The Jets could also receive Aaron Rodgers back in December. The veteran quarterback claims his Achilles is healing quickly, and if New York’s playoff hopes remain achievable, Rodgers insists he could be back next month.

Carter will turn 25 in May.

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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