Vikings Draft Targets: Would David Cobb Be an Upgrade Over Matt Asiata?


The Vikings might be in the market for a running back this offseason, and one potential target could be former Minnesota Golden Gopher David Cobb (5-11, 229).

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Cobb is turning heads at Senior Bowl practice this week. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say he has been one of the most impressive players at least going by the assessments of outside observers on the scene.

Cobb went to the Senior Bowl with the goal of proving he could be a complete back and he seems to be doing that. The knock on him is going to be his lack of elite speed.

Assume for a second that Adrian Peterson isn’t in the picture for the Vikings in 2015 (a fair assumption given the way things seem to be headed). What then should the Vikings do at the running back position?

One option would be to bring back Matt Asiata, who is currently a restricted free agent. Another would be to let Asiata go and attempt to upgrade at the position via the draft.

If you do go the draft road, what are your options? Spending a high pick on a player like Melvin Gordon is on the table. So is waiting a few rounds and targeting a less-heralded player.

Cobb is sounding more-and-more like a player who might be in the picture for the Vikings later in the draft. My question is whether he would really represent an upgrade over Matt Asiata.

Cobb and Asiata look like very similar players at least on the surface. Both are 5-11 and around 230. Both lack great breakaway speed. Both are tremendous effort players.

Originally a UDFA, Asiata has developed a reputation as a dependable short-yardage back who can also do things in the passing game. But the knock on him is that he lacks the high-end skills necessary to be an every-down player in the NFL.

Sure, Asiata had some good games last year, but is he consistently good enough to be a featured back? That’s the question. And people are going to ask exactly the same questions about David Cobb.

To me, spending a draft pick on a player like Cobb to replace a player like Asiata seems like a lateral move. If what you want is a bruising back with some playmaking ability in the passing game, why not just keep Asiata who is still relatively young and hasn’t taken a ton of punishment?

Cobb is sure to become a hot name among Viking fans, given his local connection and all the good things that are being said about him right now, but I’m not sure he would represent a significant upgrade over Asiata. Cobb may be somewhat more talented than Asiata but the margin isn’t huge.

Of course, this conversation becomes meaningless if the Vikings decide to keep Adrian Peterson for at least one more year. Peterson is the #1 back the Vikings need, but that situation is obviously very complicated.