BusinessMinnesota Vikings Upgrade Run Game With Trade Acquisition Of...

Minnesota Vikings Upgrade Run Game With Trade Acquisition Of Cam Akers


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The Minnesota Vikings are making a major move to address their lack of running game in the post-Dalvin Cook era.

As announced by the Los Angeles Rams, the Rams are trading disgruntled running Cam Akers while the two teams swap late-round draft picks, with Los Angeles acquiring the Vikings’ 2026 sixth-round draft pick and Minnesota absorbing the Rams’ 2026 seventh-round pick.

Akers started out the season as the Rams’ starting running back after serving in that role for the majority of the 2022 season and during the Rams’ playoff run at the conclusion of the 2021 season. However, Los Angeles surprisingly declared Akers inactive for their Week 2 tilt against the San Francisco 49ers.

As noted by ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, the trade marks the conclusion of a messy relationship between Akers and the Rams, which dates back to last season when Los Angeles attempted to trade the running back.

“For Akers, the deal ends a murky period of distance with the Rams. Coach Sean McVay said the decision to deactivate Akers last week was a ‘coach’s decision’ that was made in the ‘best interest’ of the team,” said Seifert.

The Vikings are struggling drastically in the running game following the departure of their former four-time Pro Bowl running back, Cook. In fact, Minnesota ranks dead-last in the NFL in rushing, with just 69 rushing yards through the first two games.

While it’s true that the Vikings have relied heavily on their passing game led by Kirk Cousins through the first two weeks — second-most passing yards and fourth-most attempts in the NFL — it’s also true that Minnesota is just not rushing for many yards when they do run the ball, averaging just 2.7 yards per carry, ranked 30th in the league.

Part of the reason is due to the sluggish play of the offensive line combined with the inefficiency of new starting back, Alexander Mattison. According to Pro Football Focus, the Vikings rank 21st in run blocking with a 55.0 grade. However, they rank even lower in the rushing department — led by Mattison — with a 50.7 grade, second-worst in the NFL.

It’s clear that while Minnesota’s offensive line isn’t great, Mattison’s slow, bruising run style also isn’t a good fit. Making matters even worse that while Cook was a viable receiving threat out of the backfield — 17th among all running backs in catches during the 2022 season — Mattison isn’t much of a factor, posting a subpar 45.8 receiving grade with just 6 receptions for 21 receiving yards.

Akers has never been a spectacular back, but he’s always been a solid runner, averaging 4.2 yards per carry while scoring seven touchdowns as the Rams’ lead back for much of the 2022 season. According to PFF
, Akers posted some of the best grades of any running back last season, notching an 80.7 offensive grade and an 80.4 rushing grade last season. The offensive grade ranked 15th among all running backs with at least 100 snaps, while the rushing grade ranked 23rd among all players at his position.

The Vikings had lacked depth behind Mattison prior to the acquisition of Akers. Their backup running back, Ty Chandler, has only seen 19 snaps this season and played in only three games last season. Meanwhile, Myles Gaskin was signed after he was released by the Miami Dolphins at the end of August, but he has yet to appear on any offensive snaps.

It’s very reasonable to believe that if Mattison’s struggles continue in the running game, Akers could very well supplant him as the starter.

With Akers in the midst of the final year of his rookie contract which pays him just $1.3 million this season, the Vikings are inheriting very little risk while giving up next-to-nothing to acquire the fourth-year back.



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