Vikings Have a Really Weird Mystery Right Now

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings have five running backs on their summer roster right now — depending on who you talk to about the team’s roster.

Vikings Have a Really Weird Mystery Right Now

The tally may actually be six halfbacks, as Cam Akers’ status with the team is a genuine mystery. Akers joined the Vikings’ roster last September for a few months before his contract expired, and according to ESPN, he’s already back in the saddle for 2024, pending a physical.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

The problem? ESPN is the only source reporting Akers-to-Minnesota. Here’s a screen-grab from the Transactions portion of ESPN’s website:

The NFL’s transaction wire has not reported Akers’ signing in Minnesota, nor does post the runner on the roster. But it’s not like ESPN is a mom-and-pop website that would erroneously or whimsically post bad information.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

Akers to Minnesota really picked up steam about 10 days ago when Pioneer Press‘ Charley Walters wrote, “If running back Cam Akers, recovering from Achilles surgery last November, passes an upcoming physical, look for the free agent to re-sign with the Vikings.”

The reunion felt imminent and made sense because Minnesota could stand to add some depth to the RB section of its depth chart. These are the Vikings’ tailbacks right now, excluding Akers: Aaron Jones, Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu, DeWayne McBride, and Kene Nwangwu. Akers as RB3 would put a bow on the purple offseason, at least per running back depth.

Cam Akers Transition
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota is in this spot — possibly needing an RB3 — because it did not draft any halfbacks in April, nor did the franchise sign any from undrafted free agency. It was content with the current pre-Akers fivesome, especially because Jones and Chandler are on tap to receive the bulk of carries. The Akers sixsome would make fans feel a bit more confident if Jones or Chandler fell injured. And running backs often get hurt.

When the offseason began, Akers hinted that he wanted to return to Minnesota, too. A prominent Vikings-themed account on Instagram, Vikes Verified, posed the question in January, “Will the Vikings reach a deal with RB Cam Akers this offseason? Akers showed explosiveness in a minimal role this season, & is still just 24 years old. Coming off a torn Achilles, it appears Cam is progressing much ahead of schedule, which is no surprise after he CAME BACK in just 6 months for the Rams playoff run in 2021- 2022. Not only did he come back, he was a significant piece on that championship team. Would you bring Akers back in 2024?”

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Akers found his way to the post and replied, “I think so.” Of course, that was six months ago, but the intent was there.

The 25-year-old also posted this video to social media in May — of him working out at Vikings headquarters:

Overall, whether Akers is formally a Viking, pending a physical, right now depends on how much one trusts ESPN’s reporting.

Otherwise, it’s quite the mystery. Folks hardly ever “debate” if a player is physically on the team.

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).

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