Vikings’ List of RB Options Expanded on Monday

Which Cowboys RB Do Vikings Need to Stop?
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The NFL’s running back quandary remains, mainly how to value them on the open market and correspondingly pay them fairly.

Vikings’ List of RB Options Expanded on Monday

The Minnesota Vikings have five running backs on the books for 2024, but some are convinced the club needs new personnel to fix the ground game, which has caused heartburn in back-to-back seasons.

RB Options Expanded
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) and running back Saquon Barkley (26) celebrate Jones’ first touchdown in the first half at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in East Rutherford. Nfl Ny Giants Vs Chicago Bears. © Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK.

And if Minnesota’s front office desires a veteran solution at tailback, three big-name runners are set to be available in free agency two weeks from now: Saquon Barkley (New York Giants), Josh Jacobs (Las Vegas Raiders), and Tony Pollard (Dallas Cowboys).

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Monday, “This offseason stands in contrast to 2023, when Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley, Tony Pollard received franchise tags. This offseason, it appears no RBs will be tagged, making this one of the finest and deepest RB classes in the history of free agency.”

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The franchise tag application window began on February 20th, and teams have until March 5th to use the maneuver formally. But, for now, franchise tags will wholly skip running backs per the Schefter reporting.

If the Vikings want a veteran running back from free agency but are not interested in Barkley, Jacobs, or Pollard, these players, among others, are scheduled to hit the open market, too:

  • JK Dobbins
  • Austin Ekeler
  • Antonio Gibson
  • Derrick Henry
  • Zack Moss
  • D’Andre Swift
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For clarity, these are the Vikings’ existing halfbacks on the books for 2024:

  • Ty Chandler
  • Alexander Mattison
  • Kene Nwangwu
  • DeWayne McBride
  • Myles Gaskin

Minnesota has ranked 27th leaguewide in consecutive seasons per rushing DVOA, so a bottom-six outfit under head coach Kevin O’Connell. Sooner or later, the Vikings must fix the ground game or risk never unlocking the offense’s full potential. The NFL is a pass-happy league, to be sure, but teams can’t run the ball inefficiently and hope to tunnel deep into the postseason.

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Should Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah say no thanks to big spending on a veteran runner, these players could catch his attention in the 2024 NFL Draft, which is 8.5 weeks away:

  • Jonathon Brooks (Texas)
  • Blake Corum (Michigan)
  • Trey Benson (Florida State)
  • TreVeyon Henderson (Ohio State)
  • Bucky Irving (Oregon)
  • MarShawn Lloyd (USC)
  • Braelon Allen (Wisconsin)

Minnesota didn’t score a rushing touchdown in 2023 until Week 8.

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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