Vikings Are Deep at One Specific Spot, but Still Need a Fix

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings need a fix to their rushing attack in 2024 — via altered personnel or an adapted scheme. Or both.

Vikings Are Deep at One Specific Spot, but Still Need a Fix

This is undebatable, and here’s why:

Vikings Rushing Stats,

Yards per Rush = 24th
Rush EPA = 25th
DVOA = 27th
Rushing Yards = 29th
Rush Play % = 30th
Rushing TDs = 30th

Deep at One Specific
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Everything about Minnesota’s ground game ranked Bottom 10 in the NFL this year, and that’s dressing it up kindly. Most of the meaningful metrics indicated a Bottom 5 group. Spookily, the rushing attack didn’t improve in 2023 from 2022, even after the Vikings leaders and players claimed it would be a point of emphasis last offseason.

Vikings Rushing Stats,

Yards per Rush = 26th
Rush EPA = 29th
DVOA = 27th
Rushing Yards = 29th
Rush Play % = 30th
Rushing TDs = 8th

No real improvement and, in fact, a bit of regression.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

So, now what? Well, the Vikings have the human bodies under contract at the position. There is no running back deficiency. These men are under contract for 2024:

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

Chandler trended up in the last third of the season and seemed to bring hope that the rushing game could improve in 2024. It’s whether he alone, as a quasi-bellcow, can be classified a trustworthy solution in a 2024 campaign when Minnesota absolutely must improve this predicament. Financially, it doesn’t make sense to cut Mattison; such a maneuver has no real cap savings. Then, Nwangwu, McBride, and Gaskin can be considered depth pieces.

Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Via free agency, these running backs will likely be available:

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

Those are the “big names,” anyway. Other RB2 types, like A.J. Dillon, are scheduled to hit free agency and offer no tangible upgrade over Chandler.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Finally, in the draft, these are the RBs to watch for Minnesota:

  • Jonathon Brooks (Texas)
  • Blake Corum (Michigan)
  • Trey Benson (Florida State)
  • TreVeyon Henderson (Ohio State)
  • Bucky Irving (Oregon)
  • Donovan Edwards (Michigan)

Those rookies will begin flying off the board in Rounds 2-6.

Thankfully for the Vikings’ sake, the franchise has the funds available in free agency to splash for a proven veteran. In past offseasons, Minnesota pinched pennies in January, February, and March just to “get out of the red.” It also owns a 2nd-Round pick this year, meaning it could target its top RB target on Draft Night No. 2.

The Vikings could also explore offensive line enhancement via run-blocking, mainly at guard.

NFL free agency kicks off on March 11 with the “legal tampering” phase. 

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