Do the Vikings Need Another Running Back?

Deep at One Specific
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings went into the 2023 regular season with Alexander Mattison returning as their starter. The group as a whole seemed to lack depth, and when he flamed out, a trade was necessary. Is more coming for Kevin O’Connell’s club this season?

Do the Vikings Need Another Running Back?

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah decided to rip off the band-aid and cut Alexander Mattison before the 2024 season. He appeared to be a quality backup option each time he was called upon in Dalvin Cook’s absence, but there was just nothing noteworthy when he was rolled out as the starter. Mattison struggled to work in space and wasn’t the bell cow back that Minnesota needed.

Running Back
Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Over the past two seasons, it has been apparent that O’Connell won’t lean heavily on the running game. That means the position takes on lesser importance for his roster, but no head coach can operate an offense that is entirely one-dimensional. With Aaron Jones taking over for Mattison, Minnesota gets an established star. He is built from the same mold that Cook was, and familiarity coming from a division rival plays to his benefit.

While Cam Akers looked spry when taking over for Mattison last season, he is returning from an injury and is no longer rostered by the Vikings. That means Jones slots in just ahead of incumbent starter Ty Chandler. It’s hard to say that the former North Carolina product did anything but perform admirably last year, but he shouldn’t be expected to carry the load with or without Jones.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

O’Connell goes into the season with a two-back room at this point, and while DeWayne McBride was seen as a draft darling, there is little to go off of from his perspective. If Minnesota is going to add to the group, it will come through the draft, and to what extent they feel an addition is necessary remains to be seen. The Vikings currently don’t have a second or third-round pick, and using their next higher selection on a position that is largely decided on could be a tough ask.

It would be fun to see former Minnesota Gophers running back Bucky Irving in purple, but there are no guarantees that he will make it that deep into the pick. Irving flashed for the Oregon Ducks; his style provides a little of everything. He could challenge Chandler for the rotational spot and provide depth to the group as a whole.

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Still, Minnesota may be better off utilizing their picks for other needs, and seeing how things shake out at the position is definitely something of intrigue as the process gets underway later this month.

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.