4 Vikings who could take a gigantic leap in the 2022 season

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) Kene Nwangwu
(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) Kene Nwangwu /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) Kene Nwangwu /

Kene Nwangwu – RB

Kene Nwangwu made plenty of noise during his rookie season. He got hurt in the first game of the preseason, but was finally healthy enough to play in the Vikings’ first game after their bye and made an immediate impact as a kick returner.

Nwangwu was a natural return man, as he weaved his way through the opposing team’s kick coverage units and then turned on the jets to explode down the field on his way to either a score or a big gain. Nwangwu was so good, he was in the mix for the Pro Bowl just narrowly missing a spot.

While being a lights-out returner was amazing and will be fun again to watch in 2022, that isn’t why Nwangwu is on this list. He could have a K.J. Osborn-like jump as a running back this season, which would be very surprising with how he carried the ball as a rookie.

There’s no way around it, Nwangwu was pretty ineffective when it came to carrying the football last season. He carried the ball 13 times for 61 yards, and while that yards per carry doesn’t look too bad, a lot of those plays went absolutely nowhere. Some were slow-developing and were immediately snuffed out, and others were due to Nwangwu doing a poor job of reading his blocks.

He will have to battle Ty Chandler for carries this season, but he now will play in a modern offensive system that will be creative and fresh. Kevin O’Connell will definitely get plenty of work out of Dalvin Cook but will also want to keep him fresh and healthy throughout the season.

This could lead to some more opportunities for Nwangwu both as a runner and a receiver. He’s got the explosive capabilities to his game to turn those touches into big plays and he could have production as a running back that far exceeds anyone’s expectations this year.

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