Vikings Should Sign Free Agent Straggler from Last Year’s Roster

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The Minnesota Vikings have plenty of personnel in the running back room — five humans as of mid-June.

Vikings Should Sign Free Agent Straggler from Last Year’s Roster

The group includes Aaron Jones, Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu, DeWayne McBride, and Myles Gaskin. That’s more than enough for a 53-man roster and then some.

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However, the club has no clear-cut RB3. Accordingly, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah should re-sign Cam Akers, who remains a free agent and is recovering from an Achilles tear that ended his season in a game at the Atlanta Falcons last November.

The price would be small, the risk low. Assuming his return to health is afoot, adding Akers back as RB3 hedges the bet against injury to Jones and Chandler. And the knock on Jones at this stage of his career is injury. When Jones is healthy, he’s marvelous, but he didn’t fire up a full season in 2023.

for cam akers
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Akers joined Minnesota via trade in September, a complementary piece to the Vikings’ running backs behind Mattison and Chandler. All told, he tabulated 49 touches for 208 yards from scrimmage. Head coach Kevin O’Connell said about Akers after the November Achilles tear, “Cam has been phenomenal in our locker room, on the field, with our team. He’s enjoyed being a part of this.”

The Vikings ranked 27th leaguewide per rushing DVOA in 2023, an underwhelming mark after emphasizing ground-game improvement all last offseason. Eyeing 2024, the Vikings will presumably prioritize improvement again in that aspect of the offense, and adding depth cannot hurt.

Cam Akers Transition
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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’s evidently content with the current fivesome, especially because Jones and Chandler are on tap to receive the bulk of carries.

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?”

Free Agent
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Wouldn’t you know it? Akers found his way to the post and replied, “I think so.” Of course, that was five months ago, but the intent was there.

Akers will turn 25 this weekend.

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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