Vikings Individual RB Rankings from 2023? Woof.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings need a new plan at running back in 2024. Or — if the club doesn’t want to change personnel, it must change its playcalling philosophy.

Vikings Individual RB Rankings from 2023? Woof.

The club has struggled in back-to-back seasons running the football, ranking sixth-worst per rushing DVOA in separate seasons, 2022 and 2023. Last offseason, Vikings coaches and players said that improving the ground game was a top priority, and then nothing changed in 2023. By the numbers, the rushing system might’ve even regressed.

Individual RB
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And according to NFL.com, the proof is in the pudding. Maurice Jones-Drew ranked individual running backs by the numbers this week, and Minnesota’s primary runners, Alexander Mattison and Ty Chandler, fell outside of the Top 35. Not ideal.

On Mattison, who checked in on the list at No. 40, Jones-Drew wrote, “The Vikings’ run game took an obvious back seat to a pass game loaded with talent in 2023. Mattison wasn’t up to snuff as a first-year starter, averaging fewer than 50 rushing yards per game and failing to score a single rushing touchdown.”

How Badly Do the Vikings Need an RB?
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Mattison tabulated 700 rushing yards on 180 carries this season — with an embarrassing zero rushing touchdowns. After a midseason injury, the aforementioned Chandler took over RB1 duty and could be on deck for the same job next season.

The problem? Jones-Drew placed Chandler at No. 43. The former running back explained, “With Alexander Mattison battling injury late in the season, Chandler earned the first four starts of his career to close the season, including a 100-yard performance against the Bengals. Chandler provided a spark at times over the final month, but not enough to lift the waning offense.”

Made a Statement
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Chandler banked 461 rushing yards on 102 attempts, with 3 rushing paydits. He was also visibly faster and more productive than Mattison.

The Vikings could roll with the same duo again in 2024 — both are under contract, and it doesn’t make much financial sense to cut either — or sign a veteran via free agency. The franchise could also draft a rookie in April.

Fans Have the Worst
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

Via free agency, these men, among others, will be available:

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

And in the draft, these youngsters will go off the board likely between Rounds 2-7:

  • Jonathon Brooks (Texas)
  • Blake Corum (Michigan)
  • Trey Benson (Florida State)
  • TreVeyon Henderson (Ohio State)
  • Bucky Irving (Oregon)
  • Braelon Allen (Wisconsin)

The goal for 2024 would be to employ a tailback higher than No. 40 on Jones-Drew’s list.


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.

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