It’s Official for Vikings’ Fancy New RB

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The reports from Tuesday morning were correct: the Minnesota Vikings have a fancy new veteran running back.

It’s Official for Vikings’ Fancy New RB

It’s Aaron Jones, a former Green Bay Packer, who is the latest ex-Packer to cross Interstate 94 for employment. In recent years, Za’Darius Smith, Chandon Sullivan, Bashaud Breeland, and Dean Lowry, among others, have swapped green clothes for purple, and Jones is the latest chapter.

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Here’s the official announcement:

Jones will help Minnesota fix a ground game that has ranked 27th in back-to-back seasons per rushing DVOA and one that didn’t score a touchdown until Week 8 in 2023. Alexander Mattison was released about two weeks ago, paving the way for a free agent or rookie to pair with Ty Chandler. And free agency proved that would be Jones, who will turn 30 in December.

Plus, Kevin O’Connell’s team saved $3.5 million by releasing Mattison, flipping that cash into Jones for a one-year experiment. The money offsets.

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Jones has played against Minnesota 11 times in his career, and now, with any luck, he’ll see action in 17 games with his former enemy, including two games against Green Bay. Since joining the NFL seven years ago as a fifth-round pick, he’s totaled 847 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns versus the Vikings.

And that makes it five running backs on the Vikings’ roster as of mid-March:

  • Ty Chandler
  • Aaron Jones
  • Kene Nwangwu
  • DeWayne McBride
  • Myles Gaskin

Kirk Cousins left Minnesota on Monday, becoming an Atlanta Falcon for four years and $180 million, so this September will feel like a brave new world on offense. The purple team signed Sam Darnold, too, early Tuesday morning as a “patchover quarterback” to accompany whichever rookie passer it presumably drafts in April. Instead of Cousins, Mattison, and Jefferson headlining the enterprise, Week 1 could feature Darnold, Jones, and Jefferson — quite the change in a short period.

Fans Already Split
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Jones recorded 889 yards from scrimmage in 2023 while playing 11 games. He scored 3 touchdowns and turned on the jets down the stretch of 2023 once he became fully healthy. The ex-Packer will partner with the aforementioned Chandler for a reputable RB1-RB2 duo next season and perhaps end the Vikings’ recent rushing anguish.

Jones was at the peak of his powers in 2019, notching 1,558 yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns. He’s reached one Pro Bowl — four years ago during the pandemic season.

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All told, Minnesota has signed these newcomers this week:

  • Jonathan Greenard, EDGE — 4 Years, $76m (HOU)
  • Andrew Van Ginkel, EDGE — 2 Years, $20m (MIA)
  • Blake Cashman, ILB — 3 Years, $25.5m (HOU)
  • Sam Darnold, QB — 1 Year, $10m (SF)
  • Parker Romo, K — XFL
  • Aaron Jones, RB — 1 Year, $7m (GB)

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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