Vikings Watch RBs Rush by Them

Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports.

Before free agency opened, the Minnesota Vikings decided to release their Week 1 starting running back from last season. With Alexander Mattison shown the door just a year after taking over for Dalvin Cook, the position was again bare. Unfortunately for them, the rest of the division loaded up.

Vikings Watch RBs Rush by Them

It stands to reason that Minnesota must replace Alexander Mattison in one way or another. Ty Chandler shined in limited opportunity a season ago but also proved there was plenty to work on regarding pass protection. While he could run away with the starting role, having more depth than they do presently is a must.

Vikings Watch
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Last season the Vikings addressed a thin running back room by adding Myles Gaskin during the preseason. Then, when Mattison struggled and Cam Akers became available, Kevin O’Connell latched onto a talent he knew. Unfortunately, Akers went down with another Achilles injury, and the group is back to looking for answers this time around.

Rather than sign an impact back early on in free agency, the Vikings watched their competition add at the position. Green Bay already employed Aaron Jones, but when restructuring his deal didn’t work, they decided that upgrading to Josh Jacobs made a good deal of sense. The Chicago Bears needed help in the role, and they went out and grabbed a potential fit in Minnesota, D’Andre Swift. With the Lions already employing David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs, everyone but the Vikings across the NFC North has a formidable option.

Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports.

Brian Flores will be tasked with accounting for opposing offenses that now employ some of the best running backs in the league, and his defense will square off with each of them twice per season. A year ago, Minnesota ranked 8th in rushing yards allowed, but replicating that feat only gets more difficult against substantially better talent.

A caveat to Minnesota’s defense is that with Kirk Cousins heading to Atlanta, it’s clear the blueprint has shifted toward giving Flores more to work with. After taking a previously horrid defense to respectable heights last season, infusing it with new talent through free agency and the draft should do wonders for a coordinator who wasn’t necessarily expected to be back in Minnesota.

Flores Flourish
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings still need to figure out their own running back situation, but for now, they’ve seen the rest of the division show their hand.


Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.

Share: