This Man Could Be a Cheap but Effective RB Option for Vikings

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The Vikings enter the offseason with some room under the space for the first time in years. In recent periods, they had to make moves even to be able to sign players in free agency, but not this year. According to OverTheCap.com, the Vikings currently have roughly $19.5 million in effective cap space, a number that will probably rise leading up to free agency in March. Even re-signing Danielle Hunter or Kirk Cousins could create room.

This Man Could Be a Cheap but Effective RB Option for Vikings

This Man Could Be a Cheap but Effective RB Option for Vikings
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General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah enters his third offseason in charge and must address the running back position. The Vikes released Dalvin Cook in 2023 and promoted his backup, Alexander Mattison, to the starting spot, a mistake, it turned out.

Cam Akers and Ty Chandler threatened his starting gig. Akers was lost due to a season-ending Achilles tear, while Chandler stole the job late in the season. He has shown better explosiveness and was simply the better runner in 2023. However, the Vikings need someone else after the second straight disappointing year of running the football.

The good news is that the free agent class is loaded with starting running backs. Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, and Derrick Henry certainly highlight the group, but it should be doubted that the analytically driven GM would pay north of $10 million per season for a running back, regardless of how good that player is.

Indianapolis Colts running back Zack Moss (21) leaves the field Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

No, acquiring a cheaper option, a tier-two player, is more likely. This class also features Devin Singletary, D’Andre Swift, and Zack Moss. All three were capable runners in 2023. The Vikings should think about signing one of that group. Moss could be a massive bargain.

The 2020 third-rounder started his career in Buffalo. In his first two seasons, Moss played in 26 games but totaled only 826 rushing yards, 292 receiving yards, and a combined 10 touchdowns. It was a timeshare with the aforementioned Singletary in Buffalo’s pass-heavy offense that also featured quarterback Josh Allen as a running threat.

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But his role even declined in 2022 when he also lost touches to James Cook. The Bills eventually traded him to Indianapolis midseason, where he became a backup for star running back Jonathan Taylor. Once Taylor missed time with an injury, Moss took advantage, running for 334 yards in the final four games of 2022.

Early in 2023, after the Colts placed Taylor on IR, forcing him to miss four games, Moss showcased his talent. After also missing Week 1, Moss rushed for 445 yards and 3 touchdowns in the following four contests. Once Taylor returned, Moss’ role declined, but he still produced career numbers of 794 rushing yards and five touchdowns, as well as 27 catches for 192 yards and 2 more scores.

The analytics also enjoyed his season as the 0.71 yards per rush over expected ranked him fifth in the NFL. Just for comparison, Mattison recorded -0.25 yards per rush over expected.

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Pro Football Focus predicted he would sign a two-year contract for only $3.75 million per season. That would be slightly cheaper than Mattison’s contract.

Moss has proven the ability to lead a backfield, and he fits the modern NFL as a three-down back with the ability to catch and run the ball.

Michigan running back Blake Corum (2) runs against Washington cornerback Elijah Jackson (25) during the second half of the national championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Vikings could also decide to draft a running back for the fourth straight season. Perhaps a player in the middle rounds could fill the void and give the running game the desired spark.

But if the Vikings sign a player in free agency, Moss would be a decent option to share the load with Mattison and Chandler in the upcoming season.


Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt

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