It’s that time of year where a team is loaded up on talent at many positions. Sadly, not all of those players will go on to make the 53 man roster or the practice squad. This the the second installment in the Minnesota Vikings position battle series and is all about the running backs!
Let’s take a look at the running backs currently on the roster:
- #23 – Joe Banyard
- #28 – Adrian Peterson
- #31 – Jerick McKinnon
- #42 – Jerome Felton
- #43 – Dominique Williams
- #44 – Matt Asiata
- #48 – Zach Line
Here’s a quick breakdown of each of these guys:
Joe Banyard is a regular staple of the Minnesota Vikings. He has been a practice squad guy. He’s been realeased. And he’s been promoted to the 53 man roster. It’s hard to predict the future for Banyard because the new coaching staff could have a different evaluation of the young man.
Dec 22, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) on the field post game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati Bengals beat the Minnesota Vikings by the score of 42-14. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports
Adrian Peterson is a lock to be on the 53. The former league MVP and NFL leading rusher will be the featured back in this offense, but we could see his carries decrease a bit in order to limit his wear and tear.
Jerick McKinnon was a 3rd round draft pick by the Minnesota Vikings this year. The coaching staff sounds really high on him as a 3rd down back who can catch the ball out of the backfield. He has some excellent speed and could be an asset in what will hopefully be a high-octane offense.
Jerome Felton has been one of the top fullbacks in the NFL the last couple years. Having a top tier blocker in front of Adrian Peterson is a priority in a run heavy offense like Minnesota has had recently. While many NFL teams use a blocking tight end or bigger running back as a lead blocker, I expect Minnesota will want to keep Felton around.
Dominique Williams is a guy that I don’t know much about. He is a rookie out of Wagner that is competing for a job with the team. Even if he doesn’t end up making the final roster, we could see the 5’9″ Williams be a prime candidate for the Minnesota Vikings practice squad to help develop him.
Matt Asiata was last year’s third string running back. After injures to Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart, he was forced into a starting role where he found the end zone several times but didn’t have a very impressive yards per carry ratio. He’ll be the leading candidate for backup duties this year.
Zach Line found himself in injured reserve after starting games at fullback because of a suspension to Jerome Felton. Once healthy, Felton returned to the starting job and Line found himself on injured reserve with a knee injury. He is a good option as a backup fullback for the team.
Here are the players I see making the 53 man roster:
- Adrian Peterson
- Jerick McKinnon
- Matt Asiata
- Jerome Felton
- Zach Line
Joe Banyard and Dominique Williams are the only two that I have not making the cut for the final roster. With three running backs and two fullbacks, it may look a little crowded, but both Line and Asiata will both be on special teams as well. The main superstar of this list is Adrian Peterson. However, with him taking less carries this year, we should expect to see both Asiata and McKinnon getting some touches on game day.