Vikings Finally Have Respectable Ranking in One Category

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In 2022, the Minnesota Vikings ranked 27th per rushing DVOA. The franchise vowed to improve the mark in 2023. Then, that season arrived, and Minnesota finished — you guessed it — 27th per rushing DVOA. Again.

Vikings Finally Have Respectable Ranking in One Category

Now, on paper, Minnesota is slated to finally improve the run game after adding veteran Aaron Jones in free agency. The man defected from the Green Bay Packers like so many before him and will serve as the Vikings’ RB1 in 2024.

Aaron Jones, Jonathan Greenard, Jordan Addison and Cam Bynum spoke with reporters after mandatory minicamp on Wednesday, June 5th, 2024, at TCO Performance Center. The Vikings signed Jones during the 2024 free agency period, a replacement for Alexander Mattison, who joined the Las Vegas Raiders roster.

And his addition to the purple roster is turning heads — so much so that Pro Football Focus ranked Minnesota’s rushing attack as the 13th-best personnel heading into 2024. The Vikings’ coaching staff stubbornly clung to Alexander Mattison last year, and he now plays for the Las Vegas Raiders. It’s a new day at running back in Minnesota, with Jones and Ty Chandler holding down the fort.

Sandwiching Minnesota between the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 12 and Seattle Seahawks at No. 14, PFF’s Trevor Sikkema explained the 13th ranking, “Minnesota placed 24th in the league in PFF rushing grade in 2023 before making major improvements by acquiring Aaron Jones in free agency. Jones has been one of the 10 best backs in the NFL for years now. He ranked in the top 10 in both PFF wins above average per year and in total since 2020.”

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Jones has already been welcomed by Vikings fans and his teammates and appears on tap to rejuvenate the team’s ground after two years of futility.

“Ty Chandler is behind Jones, and the second-year back had a decent 2023 season with a team-best 77.2 rushing grade,” Sikkema added.

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Chandler thrived in 2023 once Minnesota finally deviated from Mattison, particularly breaking out in a December game at the Cincinnati Bengals. The speedster looked visibly more productive than Mattison, and the statistics confirmed the eye test.

In addition to Jones and Chandler at the top of the ticket, head coach Kevin O’Connell employs Kene Nwangwu, DeWayne McBride, and Myles Gaskin in the RB room. The club could also re-sign Cam Akers, who joined the roster midseason last year and performed well before an Achilles injury.

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PFF ranked the NFL’s top running games (in order) as the San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins, and Detroit Lions, with the Cincinnati Bengals, Las Vegas Raiders, and Dallas Cowboys in the cellar.

Vikings training camp kicks off in about a month, and the NFL’s regular season is 11 weeks away.

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