With Alexander Mattison Gone, the Vikings Have to Discover a New RB

Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings operating again Alexander Mattison (2) reacts earlier than a sport towards the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Financial institution Stadium. Obligatory Credit score: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports activities

On Monday afternoon, the Vikings formally announced the release of starting running back Alexander Mattison.

Mattison’s launch isn’t surprising. The operating again inked a two-year, $7 million extension with the Vikings final offseason, however didn’t carry out in 2023. Mattison didn’t get a single speeding landing in 2023 and averaged a measly 3.9 yards per try. In consequence, the Vikings completed the season twenty ninth in speeding yards per sport and turned the carries over to Ty Chandler because the season progressed.

Alternative Choices for Alexander Mattison

Alexander Mattison
Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings operating again Alexander Mattison (2) throughout warmups towards the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Monetary Subject. Obligatory Credit score: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports activities

The discharge of Mattison frees up $3.35 million in cap area for the Vikings, who now have about $37.3 million in cap space. The Vikings will undoubtedly look so as to add to the operating again room this offseason. Fortunately, there are many strong choices in free company and the draft. There might even be a solution on the roster already.

Whereas any staff would like to have a dynamic again like Josh Jacobs or Austin Ekeler, I don’t foresee the Vikings investing closely within the place. With Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter slated at no cost company, it’s uncertain the staff would splurge on an RB.

Here’s a have a look at 5 reasonable choices that the Vikings might usher in for 2024.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas Metropolis Chiefs

Jan 13, 2024; Kansas Metropolis, Missouri, USA; Kansas Metropolis Chiefs operating again Clyde Edwards-Helaire (25) runs the ball as Miami Dolphins security Elijah Campbell (22) makes an attempt the sort out in a 2024 AFC wild card sport at GEHA Subject at Arrowhead Stadium. Obligatory Credit score: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports activities

Clyde Edwards-Helaire has fallen out of favor in Kansas Metropolis. The previous first-round choose has been leaped within the pecking order by Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon. During the last two seasons, Edwards-Helaire has simply 141 carries for 525 yards and 4 speeding touchdowns.

Nonetheless, in 2020 and 2021, CEH confirmed what he was able to in a bigger function. As a rookie, Edwards-Helaire ran 181 instances for 803 yards and 4 TDs. The RB additionally caught 36 passes, demonstrating his capacity to assist in each phases.

This wouldn’t be probably the most thrilling addition, however Edwards-Helaire is the right bounce-back candidate. Spotrac projects the again to land only a one-year, $1.6 million deal, so it could be a low-risk, high-reward transfer.

Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens

Oct 22, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens operating again Gus Edwards (35) celebrates his landing with quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) in the course of the second quarter towards the Detroit Lions at M&T Financial institution Stadium. Obligatory Credit score: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports activities

Gus Edwards is coming off of his finest season as a professional in 2023. The again rushed for 810 yards on 198 makes an attempt. Edwards additionally discovered the tip zone 13 instances, which must be interesting to a Vikings staff that struggled to take action in 2023.

Edwards is a downhill runner who received’t be a lot of a receiving menace. Nonetheless, he will get first downs and he finds the tip zone. Edwards has by no means averaged lower than 4.1 yards per try in any of his 5 seasons.

Like Edwards-Helaire, Edwards additionally doesn’t determine to price an arm and a leg. The suggestion from Spotrac is that Edwards to land a one-year deal for round $3.6 million this offseason. This might be a cut price for the Vikings who desperately want to seek out extra manufacturing within the run sport.

Braelon Allen, Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin Badgers
Dec 27, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Wisconsin Badgers operating again Braelon Allen (0) runs the ball for a landing towards the Oklahoma State Cowboys within the second half of the 2022 Assured Charge Bowl at Chase Subject. Obligatory Credit score: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports activities

Right here we now have our first rookie choice. The Vikings have simply two picks within the highest 100, and it’s unlikely that a kind of shall be spent on an RB. As an alternative, the staff might look within the center rounds. Enter Braelon Allen.

Braelon Allen starred at Wisconsin for 3 seasons, going over 1200 yards twice. In 2023, Allen picked up 984 yards on 181 makes an attempt. The facility again additionally discovered the tip zone 12 instances.

In every of Allen’s three collegiate seasons, the again had at the very least 11 scores. Whereas not a lot of a receiving menace, Allen did have his finest receiving season in 2023 with 28 catches for 132 yards.

Allen is anticipated to go between the third and fifth rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft. The Vikings don’t at the moment personal a third-round choice, however they do have two fourths and two fifths. Utilizing a kind of picks on an influence again who can discover the tip zone could also be a sensible transfer.

Kendall Milton, Georgia Bulldogs

Dec 30, 2023; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs operating again Kendall Milton (2) reacts after the 2023 Orange Bowl at Onerous Rock Stadium. Obligatory Credit score: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports activities

Kendall Milton is one other downhill runner who has no bother discovering the tip zone. Milton had 121 carries for 790 yards in 2023 for the Bulldogs. The again additionally had 14 speeding touchdowns in 2023.

Milton, like Allen, is an influence again who isn’t afraid of contact. Additionally like Allen, Milton isn’t a lot of a menace within the passing sport. For a Vikings’ staff that desperately wants speeding manufacturing, nonetheless, Milton is price a mid-round flier. Most projections have the Georgia product going between rounds three and five.

Cam Akers/Ty Chandler, Minnesota Vikings

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Dec 31, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings operating again Ty Chandler (32) runs with the ball towards the Inexperienced Bay Packers within the first quarter at U.S. Financial institution Stadium. Obligatory Credit score: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports activities

Our last choice is that the reply is already on the roster. Technically, Cam Akers is headed for free agency, however he’s a restricted free agent. Because of this the Vikings can place an original-round tender on Akers for just below $3 million. If the staff decides to not tender Akers, he would then be an unrestricted free agent.

Chandler is underneath contract and confirmed promise in 2023. Chandler completed the season with 461 yards and three speeding touchdowns on 102 makes an attempt. The again additionally confirmed promise within the passing sport, catching 21 passes for 159 yards.

Akers, for his half, confirmed some promise effectively earlier than struggling one other critical harm. Akers took 38 carries for 138 yards and one rating. The previous Ram additionally caught 11 passes for 70 yards.

I listed each of those backs as potential solutions because of the unknown surrounding every. If Akers is wholesome, can he be a lead again as soon as once more? Akers had 786 yards and seven TDs as the primary again for the Rams in 2022.

What might Chandler show if given the prospect to begin from the leap? Chandler looked like the best back on the roster final 12 months, so it’s not a stretch to assume he can take a leap heading into 2024. 

Editor’s Be aware: Statistics for this text had been discovered through Pro Football Reference and Sports Reference CFB.

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