Vikings Part Ways with Veteran Running Back

Gaskin Is an Interesting
Nov 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin walks out to the field prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports.

The rushing game has been a big issue in Minnesota, as the team rushed for only 69 yards in the first two games of the season combined. Alexander Mattison took over for departed star runner Dalvin Cook after backing him up for four seasons. Ty Chandler started the season as the RB2, while Kene Nwangwu has been hurt for weeks.

Vikings Part Ways with Veteran Running Back

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah traded a conditional 2026 sixth-round pick in exchange for a conditional 2026 seventh-round selection and running back Cam Akers. That move made one player obsolete, and the Vikings took action, releasing Myles Gaskin, as the organization announced.

Vikings Part Ways With Veteran Running Back
Oct 24, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin (37) runs with the football against the Atlanta Falcons during the fourth quarter of the game at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports.

Gaskin failed to make the roster this year after spending the first four seasons of his career with the Miami Dolphins. He was released on the final cutdown day, and the Vikings signed him. The franchise initially had only a couple of healthy running backs on the roster because DeWayne McBride landed on the practice squad and Nwangwu on IR.

Veteran Gaskin fit the mold of a backup running back with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He also played in a somewhat similar running scheme in his previous stint. Gaskin appeared in one game in Minnesota and logged a few special teams snaps in the Week 2 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.

In his five-year career, Gaskin has rushed for 1,355 yards and 7 touchdowns, and he added 101 catches for 701 receiving yards and another 6 touchdowns. He didn’t make the roster in Miami because head coach Mike McDaniel added former 49ers runners Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson. The trio shared a stint in San Francisco. He also drafted De’Von Achane in April’s draft, and Gaskin was the odd man out.

Aug 21, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin (37) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports.

The 26-year-old will find another chance somewhere in the league, possibly even in Minnesota on the practice squad. He is an experienced player at an injury-prone position, and teams always look for depth when injuries occur.

Akers will likely be inserted into the gameplan sooner rather than later, perhaps as early as in Sunday’s contest with the Carolina Panthers and former Viking Adam Thielen. The former Los Angeles Ram played under now Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell when he was his offensive coordinator.

The 24-year-old was a promising player. He was drafted in the second round in 2020, and he rushed 145 times for 625 yards and a couple of scores in his debut season. Just before training camp started leading up to his sophomore campaign, Akers tore his Achilles tendon. That used to be a death sentence for running backs and athletes in general, but he came back like he never missed any time.

Jan 8, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers (3) rushes against Seattle Seahawks linebacker Cody Barton (57) during the first quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports.

Roughly six months later, he appeared in the final regular season game and had a significant impact in the playoff run ending with the Rams Super Bowl title. In 2022, Akers was expected to be a breakout player, but he somehow landed in Sean McVay’s doghouse. He still rushed for almost 800 yards and 7 touchdowns, logging three straight 100-yard games to finish the season. This year, he was replaced in the starting unit by sophomore Kyren Williams, and the Rams were ready to move him for close to no return.

There is a chance that Akers will earn a serious number of touches in O’Connell’s offense. The ineffectiveness in two of the three games and Mattison’s new fumble struggles could lead to Akers having a big role.

Mattison is a powerful rusher, while Akers offers more explosiveness, so the two could be a nice one-two punch.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt