The Vikings’ 3 Options at RB in 2024

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The Minnesota Vikings ranked 27th per rushing DVOA in 2023, a lowly mark that prevented the offense from hitting full stride in head coach Kevin O’Connell’s second season.

And that was after Minnesota spent the 2023 offseason telling reporters and fans it would improve the run game by making it a point of emphasis.

The Vikings’ 3 Options at RB in 2024

RB1 Alexander Mattison didn’t quite have the special sauce to replace the prime version of Dalvin Cook, and in flashes, second-year tailback Ty Chandler performed well. Now, on the cusp of an offseason when Minnesota must rapidly improve, well, everything to keep up in the NFC North, enhancements to the rushing attack are basically required.

3 Options at RB
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So, these are the Vikings’ three options.

1. Draft a RB in Rounds 2-4

Texas Longhorns running back Jonathon Brooks (24) celebrates after he runs into the end zone for a touchdown against TCU Horned Frogs in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, November. 11, 2023, at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. © Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

For starters, the aforementioned Mattison and Chandler are under contract in 2024, and it doesn’t make much sense financially to release either man. Therefore, a theoretical rookie running back would enter the fold as part of a trio.

Using the draft to pluck an RB1 would probably require the Vikings’ 2nd-Round pick, 42nd overall. Because the importance of running backs has dwindled, at least per team-building, Minnesota could likely select a Top 3 RB in Round 2.

These are the options:

  • Jonathon Brooks (Texas)
  • Blake Corum (Michigan)
  • Trey Benson (Florida State)
  • TreVeyon Henderson (Ohio State)
  • Bucky Irving (Oregon)
  • Donovan Edwards (Michigan)

Ergo, the 2024 RB room for the Vikings would feature, for example, Jonathon Brooks, Ty Chandler, and Alexander Mattison, which doesn’t sound half bad.

2. Sign a Productive Free Agent

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If general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah wants to hold onto his precious 42nd overall pick, a litany of free-agent tailbacks is scheduled to hit the open market. These are examples:

  • Saquon Barkley
  • JK Dobbins
  • Austin Ekeler
  • Antonio Gibson
  • Derrick Henry
  • Josh Jacobs
  • Zack Moss
  • Tony Pollard
  • D’Andre Swift

Swift might be the most intriguing choice, as he just turned 25 years old, and his career’s prime is around the bend. A Swift-infused Vikings RB depth chart: Swift, Chandler, and Mattison.

3. Run It Back and Cross Fingers

Please Step Up
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Otherwise, the Vikings can do nothing. They have plenty of human bodies with the RB acronym attached to the roster. Should Adofo-Mensah stand pat, these are the halfbacks under contract next season:

  • Ty Chandler
  • Alexander Mattison
  • Kene Nwangwu
  • DeWayne McBride

The fear, however, is that Minnesota would risk the same outcome from 2023 — a group that seems passable on paper but flounders when the rubber hits the road.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by