O’Connell Reiterates Alexander Mattison is Vikings’ RB1; Cam Akers Likely Inactive

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The Minnesota Vikings made a couple of splash moves in the NFL world this week when they signed free agent offensive guard, Dalton Risner, before swapping late round conditional draft picks with the Los Angeles Rams in a trade for running back, Cam Akers.

Since the moves were made, everyone involved has downplayed both transactions, as related to this weekend’s game vs the Los Angeles Chargers. Dalton Risner told reporters, earlier this week, that he isn’t expecting to start on Sunday.

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Cam Akers takes backseat to Alexander Mattison

Then on Friday, Kevin O’Connell addressed the Akers trade, all but declaring his new running back inactive for week 3 and reiterating to everyone watching that Alexander Mattison is still the Minnesota Vikings’ RB1.

“I told Alex nothing changes for him. The feelings I’ve had about Alex and his role for us still all feel the same. There’s a thousand things that we can all do to improve our run game, but as far as Alex Mattison goes, he’s our lead back and continue to want to build things around him.”

When at his best, Cam Akers is a legitimate threat in the running game and a talent defenses have to plan for. But in his first game of 2023, he was far from that, rushing for just 29 yards on a legitimate 22-carry workload. The next weekend, he was inactive and, by Wednesday, Aker was a Viking.

No matter what version the Viking get, Cam Akers has never been a workhorse running back. So that’s certainly not what Kevin O’Connell would ask of him. Still, it is kind of interesting that KOC felt he needed to back Mattison so strongly today.

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Alexander Mattison still Minnesota Vikings’ RB1… for now

Alexander Mattison has been better statistically (3.3 YPC) than Akers was in week 1, but he’s had some butter finger problems and the Vikings running game, as a whole, is one of the worst in the NFL.

But O’Connell made it clear, there’s nothing in the game plan for Cam Akers this week. Thus, it makes sense that O’Connell would pump up the running back who will be taking all of the RB1 carries, instead.

We’ll see what kind of tune the head coach is singing next week, after we see another Sunday with Mattison in the backfield and after another week of getting Aker up to speed on the Vikings playbook.

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Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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