8 best Minnesota Vikings running backs after their first 3 years

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by CRAIG LASSIG/AFP via Getty Images) Robert Smith /

Robert Smith (1993 – 1995)

  • 33 games
  • 252 carries
  • 1,137 rushing yards
  • 1,388 yards from scrimmage
  • 8 touchdowns

Any list of Vikings running backs needs to include Robert Smith, who is second all-time in franchise history with 6,818 rushing yards.

Selected by Minnesota in the first round of the 1993 NFL Draft., Smith played eight seasons with the team. His best year came in 2000 when he rushed for 1,521 yards with a 5.2 yards per carry average and then he promptly retired from the NFL.

Unfortunately, Smith’s career started out slowly. Like Dalvin Cook, Smith never played an entire season over his first three years with the Vikings. He only started nine games from 1993 to 1995. Injuries limited his effectiveness and in 33 games, he only carried the ball 252 times for 1,137 yards—easily the lowest totals of any player in the ranking.

A two-time Pro Bowler player, Smith was an integral part of one of the best offenses in NFL history. In 1998, the Vikings averaged 34.8 points per game. That season Smith rushed for 1,187 yards and six touchdowns while also catching 28 passes for 291 yards and another two touchdowns.

During Week 2 of the 1998 season against the St. Louis Rams, Smith had the best game of his career as he rushed for 178 yards and scored two touchdowns in a 38-31 victory for the Vikings.