5 Vikings Who Need More Playing Time
The Minnesota Vikings are 2-4 through six games, with two pivotal weeks around the bend.
Games versus the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers will determine if Minnesota falls into the basement for the rest of the season or effectuates a wildcard playoff push.
5 Vikings Who Need More Playing Time
No matter what happens in Week 7 and 8, though, these Vikings players need more playing time. They’re listed in ascending order (No. 1 = most urgently needs snaps).
5. Jaquelin Roy (DT)
Roy owns close to a 70.0 PFF grade, commendable for any rookie, but especially a 5th-Rounder. However, he’s played just 30 defensive snaps through six games and could probably use more on a Vikings line not stuffed to the gills with high-profile names.
This brand of Vikings, led by head coach Kevin O’Connell, likes to intermix rookies into the rotation gradually, so perhaps Roy will fetch playing time in the next 11 games.
4. Andre Carter (OLB)
Marcus Davenport is out with a high ankle sprain for at least a month, and the last time he was injured — it wasn’t very long ago — the Vikings mostly used D.J. Wonnum and Patrick Jones as fill-in options.
The Wonnum-Jones sandwich did not perform well in those three games, although Wonnum has arrived with splashy plays in recent weeks.
If it becomes clear Wonnum and Jones are once again just average, Minnesota should give Carter an extended trial. He has all the upside, and the Vikings will need alternative options amid the next four games for creating pocket pressure.
Give Carter more snaps.
3. Khyiris Tonga (DT)
Tonga has played only 21 more snaps than Roy, and he was one of the Vikings defensive standouts last year.
Most foresaw a prominent starting role for the 27-year-old in 2023, but that forecast was incorrect. Minnesota rarely uses Tonga despite a wonderful showing in Ed Donatell’s defense last year.
He needs more playing time on obvious rushing downs.
2. Andrew Booth (CB)
Booth played 26 snaps last weekend at Chicago, almost out of nowhere.
Defensive coordinator Brian Flores spoke Wednesday to the media, and Booth’s name popped up, “You know, he’s done a really good job in practice. We’d kind of seen that over the course of two, three weeks. And Mekhi had been playing well, too. But we just felt like, ‘Hey, let’s give Andrew an opportunity.’
Booth fired up a decent 67.9 Pro Football Focus grade at Chicago, as the Vikings defense held a duo of Justin Fields and Tyson Bagent to 113 passing yards, zero touchdowns, and grabbed two interceptions.
“I thought he did a nice job with his snaps throughout the game. Made some good tackles, coverage was competitive. So he did some good things,” Flores added about Booth.
The young Vikings corner seems on deck for more action, particularly after last weekend’s successful outing.
1. Cam Akers (RB)
The one fans have been calling for — with full throats.
Alexander Mattison is the team’s RB1, but it’s rather apparent that Mattison should headline an RB by committee, not inhabit a bellcow role.
In a small sample, Akers is averaging 5.7 yards per carry to Mattison’s 3.9. Someone must realize before too long that adding more rushing attempts and passing-game targets to Akers’ agenda is a no-brainer.
Otherwise, why was he acquired via trade?
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).