Will Vikings Grab Big Name at RB?

Syndication: The Tennessean
Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Minnesota Vikings haven’t had much of a running game during the tenure of Kevin O’Connell, and for a more progressive-thinking head coach, that’s not exactly surprising. Now getting a reset at the position, does the franchise go for a big splash in the backfield?

The Vikings RB Situation Remains Fluid. Will They Add a Big Name?

Alexander Mattison was expected to seamlessly fill in for Dalvin Cook when he returned as Minnesota’s starter. Unfortunately, that plan never worked, and it was basically a failure to launch. Without ever generating enough production to hold down the role, he was overtaken twice during the season and ultimately sent packing this offseason.

Vikings RB Situation
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports.

With the running back position devalued so heavily across the NFL, there have never been more big names on the open market. Among the most notable are Josh Jacobs, Derrick Henry, and Saquon Barkley. While the Vikings have a starter in Ty Chandler, he certainly doesn’t have the resume of those available in free agency.

Similar to the case a season ago, it makes little sense for Kevin O’Connell to go into the season with Chandler as the presumed starter and no other options. The Vikings could definitely grab someone in the draft, and either Blake Corum or Bucky Irving may be appealing in the earlier rounds. That said, they could engage someone with a proven track record already, and any of those big names would be a sizable step forward from Mattison.

Michigan running back Blake Corum runs the ball in for a touchdown during fourth quarter at the College Football Playoff national championship game against Washington at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on Monday, Jan.8, 2024. © Melanie Maxwell / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Barkley is the greatest unknown among the top names, as he has dealt with injury and uneven production. Henry would represent a star in the form of either Adrian Peterson or Dalvin Cook before him, and Jacobs is still clearly one of the best backs in the league as well. Although the position would seemingly be a luxury for Minnesota with other needs more prevalent, it’s hard to think they couldn’t fit someone in with the expanded salary cap space.

Should the Vikings move on from Kirk Cousins under center, and it seems like that could be their direction, they’ll have even more money freed up. Being just dollars, Minnesota would also benefit from a competent running game alongside whichever young quarterback they bring in to lead their offense.

Changing Thoughts
January 10th, 2024. Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell and GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center concluding the 2023 NFL regular season. Minnesota finished 7-10 in 2023 and missed the postseason.

Starting a rookie while being heavily one-dimensional is not a great blueprint for success.

After a quick hook for Mattison, Minnesota hopes to get the position right regardless of who they turn to. Getting a big name back could make that transition go smoothly.

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.