Our Minnesota Vikings have found themselves in yet another offseason predicament. With veteran back Dalvin Cook to be a 14 million dollar plus cap hit on a team that, before the Kendricks cut, was 25 million in the hole. Cook was stated to have said he would NOT restructure his current contract, which leaves the Vikings with 2 options. One: Let aging Dalvin play out his contract and look to other vets to restructure for cap space and or cut. Two: Cut Dalvin, save at least 12 million in cap space.
Alexander Mattison, RB2, is seemingly headed to free agency with minimal desire to come back when he can earn a starting spot and make more money on the open market. Mattison is looking to get paid as a starter and I do not think the Vikings are willing to buy into him long-term. When Dalvin was out during a few of his injury stints, Mattison never really shined as the RB1 in Cook’s place. He had a few nice games all throughout but failed to do so consistently.
That leaves two running backs under their rookie contracts with the Vikings. 3rd year Kick Returner Kene Nwangwu, and sophomore Ty Chandler.
Ty Chandler is an intriguing option for the Vikes in 2023. At last year's NFL Combine, Ty ran a 4.4 40-yard dash, proving that he is fast enough, and coming in at 5 foot 11 inches, and 204 pounds, he fits the mold of an RB1. Ty was also drafted by this current regime as well, so maybe they were treating his rookie year as the “Mahomes’ plan. Letting him sit behind a Top 5 NFL back in Cook, learning what it takes to be one of the best. Or, at least, one could hope.
Kene Nwangu, to me, is more of a special teamer. Not drafted by the current regime, and a 4th round pick that thrives off of his straight-line speed. A unique talent, but I’m not so sure this staff thinks of him as a potential RB1 candidate. They’d much rather him keep excelling the team in the return game, hoping he adds to his 3 career return touchdowns.
If the Vikings decide to let Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison walk, expect them to take a running back in the draft. This draft is stacked with talent all throughout, and if you had the choice, assuming we take defense in the first 2.5 rounds, which RB would you take?
Possible draft candidates for the Vikings:
- Zach Evans - Ole Miss
- Chase Brown - Illinois
- Kenny McIntosh - UGA
- Mo Ibrahim - Minnesota
- Eric Gray - OK
- Jalen White - GA Southern