Draft Rumor from Last Year Could Shed Light on Vikings’ 2024 Plans

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The Minnesota Vikings could be in the market for a running back this offseason, as over a dozen prominent options are available in free agency or the NFL Draft.

Draft Rumor from Last Year Could Shed Light on Vikings’ 2024 Plans

Via free agency, NFL general managers will ponder these runners, assuming their existing teams don’t extend their contracts:

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

And if the Vikings don’t fancy paying a veteran tailback, the draft might be used to add such a playmaker. Interestingly, Minnesota nearly drafted a high-profile running back last year, according to The Athletic.

Draft Rumor from Last
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Alec Lewis wrote last week, “As it turns out, according to a league source familiar with the Vikings’ thinking in the lead-up to last year’s draft, the Vikings adored Jahmyr Gibbs. Had he fallen to Minnesota at No. 23, he would have been a serious consideration. The team believed his speed, vision and receiving ability would have aligned nicely with its high-powered offense, which would have been structured to lighten the load on a scrappy but unproven defense.”

Gibbs ended up with the Detroit Lions at a higher draft spot than most could foresee, the 12th overall pick.

3 Definitive
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Lewis also mentioned, “The Lions’ snagging Gibbs at No. 12 leaves us with a fascinating what-if. But the past is the past. Halting Gibbs will be the Vikings’ problem for the foreseeable future.”

Gibbs later banked 1,261 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns as a rookie while playing 57% of offensive snaps, a fantastic rookie showing for, well, anybody. Meanwhile, Minnesota checked in at 27th per rushing DVOA in 2023, the same ranking it experienced in 2022.

Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports.

Therefore, as the Vikings presumably attempt to fix the running game for a second consecutive offseason, the proof may be in the pudding. If The Athletic reporting is correct, and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah sought a big-name running back last year, the club could explore one in 2024. This year’s class isn’t quite as dazzling at the RB position — Bijan Robinson headlined the group in addition to Gibbs — but a handful of halfbacks should be gettable as early as Round 2.

These are some of the names to monitor:

  • Jonathon Brooks (Texas)
  • Blake Corum (Michigan)
  • Trey Benson (Florida State)
  • TreVeyon Henderson (Ohio State)
  • Bucky Irving (Oregon)
  • Braelon Allen (Wisconsin)
Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports.

Otherwise, the Vikings have these men under contract at the position in 2024:

  • RB1: Ty Chandler
  • RB2: Alexander Mattison
  • RB3: Kene Nwangwu
  • RB4: DeWayne McBride
  • RB5: Myles Gaskin

The NFL Draft kicks off in 79 days.

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 OverTheCap.com.