Report: Minnesota Vikings Plan to Sign Familiar Running Back

Cam Akers, Minnesota Vikings
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings are less than a month away from converging on Eagan, MN for training camp and the group gathering at TCO Performance Center will look a lot different than it has for the past couple of seasons.

Kirk Cousins is out, Sam Darnold and J.J. McCarthy are in. But that’s only the start of the changes. The Vikings have fresh faces all over their roster. Some positions look upgraded, others have more question marks than in previous years.

One group that has gotten a clear improvement at the top of the depth chart is running back. Aaron Jones is 10x the running back Alexander Mattison can even dream of being and Vikings fans who weren’t paying attention, while Jones was across the border playing for Green Bay, will see the very drastic difference in short order.

Report: Minnesota Vikings plan to sign running back Cam Akers (pending physical)

Meanwhile, the most promising backfield talent on roster in 2023, Ty Chandler, will be returning in 2024. And according to Charley Walters (Pioneer Press), so will Cam Akers, who Minnesota traded for in the middle of last season.

That’s as long as Akers, who ruptured his achilles tendon on November 5 (one week after Kirk Cousins suffered the same injury), can pass an upcoming physical.

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.

Charley Walters – Pioneer Press

In 2023, Akers ran for a total of just 167 yards. He started week one for the LA Rams, where he received 22 carries… but ran for just 29 yards (and 1 TD). In week two, the Rams made Cam inactive, before trading him to the MN Vikings between weeks two and three.

For five games, Akers was arguably the Minnesota Vikings’ most complete running back. It was noticeable immediately how much better of a ball-carrier he was than Alexander Mattison. He had more quickness, speed and read what was in front of him better.

And while he wasn’t quite as explosive as Ty Chandler… at least you could trust him to know and execute his blocking assignments. Before his injury in week 9, Cam Akers amassed 138 yards on 38 carries, adding 70 yards on 11 receptions, too.

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The imminent signing (pending physical) of Akers tells me that the Minnesota Vikings aren’t ready to hand Chandler the RB2 job, nor are they willing to rely on him as the primary option out of the backfield, should Aaron Jones run into injury issues.

It’s certainly worth noting that Cam Akers just turned 25 years old eight days ago, so he isn’t some long-in-the tooth veteran that’s in his declining years. Even for a running back, 25 isn’t old. If the Vikings can get him in on the cheap, it makes all the sense in the world to bring more talent into that room.

Once complete (pending physical), you could certainly argue that, by replacing Mattison with Jones and bringing everyone else back, running back is the Vikings’ most improved position entering training camp.

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