Vikings Will Need a New RB
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, but it was mostly sunshine and rainbows.
The club downed the then-division-leading Atlanta Falcons on the road 31-28 using a backup quarterback just acquired five days prior in Josh Dobbs.
Vikings Will Need a New RB
The Vikings remain in the NFC’s No. 7 playoff seed after Week 9, just 0.5 games out of the fifth seed and 1.5 games back of the Detriot Lions for first place in the NFC North.
But the dreary side of the triumph involved injuries, a bane on Minnesota’s season to date, affecting Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, and Marcus Davenport, among others. On Sunday in Atlanta, the Vikings lost rookie passer Jaren Hall indefinitely to a concussion and running back Cam Akers to what is believed to be a torn Achilles.
The same injury knocked Cousins out of the Vikings plans a week ago.
Akers had served as a breath-of-fresh-air alternative to RB1 Alexander Mattison, utilized as the RB2 and more of a pass-catching option. Now, though, if the worst is confirmed Monday, Akers will live on the shelf the rest of the way in 2023.
And that means the Vikings will need a new running back.
The franchise will likely promote from within, at least initially, nominating second-year tailback Ty Chandler for RB2 duty while perhaps giving rookie and practice squad runner DeWayne McBride a look. Kick returner Kene Nwangwu is a possibility, as well. All three have encountered limited or zero regular season action as running backs this season, but that is likely to change soon — really soon.
Meanwhile, if McBride is not deemed promotable, a handful of free-agent solutions exist, too. Here’s a small list of experienced veterans:
- Giovani Bernard
- Rex Burkhead
- Ronald Jones
- J.D. McKissic
The Vikings employed Myles Gaskin on the practice squad after swinging the Cam Akers trade in September, but the Los Angeles Rams stole Gaskin following Kyren Williams’ injury and IR trip.
The NFL’s trade deadline expired six days ago, so Minnesota must use the current roster for reinforcements or sign a Bernard, Burkhead, Jones, or McKissic. Fans have envisioned a larger offensive role for Nwangwu for three seasons, and perhaps that plan could finally materialize.
Minnesota also employed RBs Abram Smith and Aaron Dykes before final roster trimdowns in August, who could be options instead of the veterans mentioned above.
The Vikings rank 31st leaguewide in rushing yards after Week 9.
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).