Now that we are certain Adrian Peterson will not return to the Minnesota Vikings, the team is looking for a running back. Free agency and the draft offer them several possibilities. After the scouting combine, they have a better idea who might fit the system.
Minnesota Vikings Running Back Prospects Post Adrian Peterson
Rumors have circulated since Peterson’s exit that the team might be interested in Latavius Murray as a free agent. But without major improvements in the offensive line, this might not be the best choice. Even behind one of the best run blocking offensive lines in the league last year, he only managed an average of four yards per carry, and had only five big plays from scrimmage.
True, Murray’s season was injury riddled last year, and a 4.3 second 40-yard dash for a guy who weighs in at 230 is impressive. Still, there might be some better options following the combine among running backs who will still be available mid-draft.
D’Onta Foreman, Texas
Freeman may not even be available by the time Minnesota has a pick in the second round, but he may be the best overall candidate for the team. At 6’1” and 249 pounds, he has the size needed to be competitive. Freeman did very little as a receiver, but when needed ran over the competition, averaging 6.3 yards per carry and 15 touchdowns. Minnesota should look at grabbing him if he does not go as early as expected.
Kareem Hunt, Toledo
At 5’10” and 208, Hunt may not have the size and power to be an every-down back in the NFL, but he could make a great complimentary back, and a good addition in passing situations. This could work well for the Vikings, who might draft him to work alongside someone they pick up from free agency.
Wayne Gallman, Clemson
With tremendous lateral quickness, Gallman could be a good addition to the running game, but there is some question as to his power in the NFL. At 6’1” and only 205 pounds, he may have to put on some muscle to be a contender. Still, Mike Zimmer has shown a willingness to bring in players and work with them, so he could be a good fit for the Vikings.
Samaje Perine, Oklahoma
It is hard to say how exactly Perine will do in the NFL. He was pretty banged up last season and, when he was healthy, split the workload at Oklahoma with Joe Mixon. Still, he has proven to be a big, tough back. He is 5’11” and weighs in at 237 pounds, and is quicker in the 40 than Gallman by almost a full second.
Jeremy McNichols, Boise State
At 5’9”, McNichols is relatively small, but weighing in at 212 pounds and with a 4.5 40 time, he was a tough back for the Boise State Broncos, and also played a big part in the receiving game. He might be a great addition as a receiving back and averaged 5.4 yards a carry this season.
None of these prospects are a perfect fit on the surface. But the Vikings have to make some kind of move at running back if they are going to have any hope of being contenders in 2017. As good as Sam Bradford played in the first half of last season, he can’t carry the team without a better offensive line and at least some options in the running game.