Will the Vikings Make a Splash at Running Back?

Giants Show Vikings Recipe for Success against Bears on Offense 
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) and quarterback Daniel Jones (8). © Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK.

A year after the Minnesota Vikings moved on from longtime veteran Dalvin Cook, they find themselves in somewhat of a pickle.

Will the Vikings Make a Splash at Running Back?

Alexander Mattison fumbled away his opportunity, literally and figuratively, while Ty Chandler still could be something of an unknown commodity. If they look to free agency, a big name could make some sense.

make a splash
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports.

For years, the running back position has been one that the Minnesota Vikings have shown consistency with. Dating back to Robert Smith, they passed the torch to Adrian Peterson and then eventually Cook. High performers in the backfield have been something the franchise has been synonymous with. Needing to sort through so many options for an answer, as they did in 2023, has been the outlier and not the norm.

While the position could be given to Ty Chandler for the 2024 season, and Alexander Mattison remains likely to stick around, former New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley could make some sense. He is not the workhorse he once was, but in an offense with better skill position players around him, there could be additional space in which he would have room to work.

Last season with the Giants, Barkley started 14 games and racked up 962 yards. The 3.9 yards per carry weren’t great by his standards, but he has routinely carved up north of four yards per carry on a regular basis. Availability is something that Barkley has struggled with throughout his career, and the only time he has played in every game was during his rookie season (although in 2022, he was simply rested the final week). Working with other rotational players in Minnesota would be an enhanced opportunity to keep him fresh for weekly exposure.

Simple Plan
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) and running back Saquon Barkley (26) celebrate Jones’ first touchdown in the first half at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in East Rutherford. NFL NY Giants Vs Chicago Bears. © Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Barkley is also not old by NFL standards. He will be playing at 27 years old in 2024, and while he has considerable mileage on his legs, he has also missed enough time that hits he has taken have been few and far between for stretches. If he is back to a certain level of health, moving on from New York and finding a fresh start could make a good deal of sense.

At this point in his career, Barkley could take a one-year deal and see if his options expand a bit more next offseason after a year of health and production. At 28, he would be getting up there in age, but a two-year deal may be something he could lock in. Being able to go from the Giants gameplan to working with the offensive mind of Kevin O’Connell should be exciting as well. Capable as a pass catcher out of the backfield, he can be used in a plethora of ways with Minnesota.

Vikings Handed Same
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The Vikings don’t have to prioritize running back this offseason, but someone like Barkley could make a good deal of sense if they do.

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.