Vikings Re-Sign Familiar Running Back

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The Vikings struggled with three things in 2023. Injuries cost the team the starting quarterback halfway through the year and Justin Jefferson for all but ten games. Turnovers were another big reason for the piling up losses as the players did an atrocious job at protecting the football, no matter how often head coach Kevin O’Connell emphasized the issue.

Vikings Re-Sign Familiar Running Back

Vikings Keep Familiar Running Back
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And the final huge issue was the rushing attack. After moving on from Dalvin Cook, some struggles were expected. He was the driving force of the running offense for six seasons and ran for at least 1,100 yards in four straight years. But his age started to catch up with him and he had clearly lost a step when general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah pulled the trigger.

Longtime backup Alexander Mattison took over with a committee behind him. Ty Chandler was RB2 but neither rookie DeWayne McBride nor kick returner Kene Nwangwu–who was injured in training camp and in the first six contests–managed to clinch a role in the offense, leading the Vikings to add another ball carrier.

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Myles Gaskin was available after the Dolphins decided to waive him with a loaded backfield, trusting emerging stars Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane. Gaskin joined the Vikings on a veteran minimum deal, providing experience to the roster.

The Vikings re-signed him to a future deal, adding him to the players under contract and the ten guys they signed to similar contracts on Monday.

The veteran was moved from the 53-man roster to the practice squad multiple times until the Rams snatched him but he returned to Minnesota’s practice squad once Los Angeles got over the injury problems.

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Gaskin was active on gameday twice but he only saw action on special teams. The former college star for Washington has had a strange career as he was the lead back for the Dolphins and a few years later, he is merely a depth and practice squad player.

The running back will try to usurp some guys that were ahead of him. Mattison, Chandler, Nwangwu, and McBride will all return, although Cam Akers is scheduled to be a free agent after tearing his Achilles this season.

Michigan running back Blake Corum (2) runs against Washington cornerback Elijah Jackson (25) during the second half of the national championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024.

With the disastrous running game clearly holding back the offense, it would be a surprise if Kevin O’Connell doesn’t get a new shiny runner to execute his rushing scheme. Decent running backs can be found in free agency for cheap money, as the NFL doesn’t value the position, and in the draft. Excellent backs can be found all over the draft, even some late-round picks can carry a running game.

Gaskin has produced 2,056 yards from scrimmage in five career seasons, scoring 13 touchdowns. He will turn 27 years old in February so his career will come to an end in the next few years. He will try to make his case for the 53-man roster in August’s training camp and preseason.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt