Why Vikings should target Pro Bowl free-agent before 2024 season

Free-agent RB Kareem Hunt
Free-agent RB Kareem Hunt / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

During this year's NFL Draft and the few days that followed, the Minnesota Vikings surprisingly opted not to add another running back to their roster.

While the Vikings did sign former Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones in free agency earlier this offseason, some thought the team would add another member to the position group in the draft or, at the very least, with one of their UDFA signings.

Instead, Minnesota is currently sticking with a running back room that consists of Jones, Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu, DeWayne McBride, and Myles Gaskin. Will these be the only running backs on the Vikings' roster when the team begins their training camp this summer?

Minnesota Vikings should consider signing free-agent RB Kareem Hunter before 2024 season

Currently, Minnesota has a little more than $16.6 million in cap space according to OverTheCap.com. After factoring in the cost of their 2024 draft picks, the Vikings have around $11 million in cap space to spend elsewhere this offseason if they desire.

There are a number of notable veteran free-agent players still in need of a team for the 2024 season, and there's one in particular who Minnesota should have their eyes on.

After spending the last five years with the Cleveland Browns, Pro Bowl running back Kareem Hunt is currently a free agent. In 15 games with the Browns last season, Hunt rushed for 411 yards and nine touchdowns while also catching 15 passes for 84 yards.

In addition to the 91 games of NFL experience he has, Hunt would add some much-needed size to the Vikings' running back room. Neither of the two backs at the top of Minnesota's current depth chart, Jones and Chandler, weigh more than 208 pounds.

During the majority of his career, Hunt has weighed around 216 pounds. And while some might not view his weight as significantly higher than Jones or Chandler, seven of the nine touchdowns scored by the former Browns running back in 2023 being runs of four yards or less tells a different story.

Last season, the Vikings had a conversion rate of 77.3 percent when running the ball on 3rd or 4th-and-short (distance of three yards or less), and they didn't score a single touchdown on any of these rushing attempts.

On 23 carries, when his team was facing 3rd or 4th-and-short in 2023, Hunt had a conversion rate of 87 percent, and he reached the end zone on four of these attempts.

Jones hasn't exactly been known as a short-yardage specialist during his career, so adding someone with proven success in these situations, like Hunt, is something Minnesota should consider before they return to the field for the 2024 season.

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