Getty Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell
The Minnesota Vikings have brought back veteran running back Myles Gaskin after Alexander Mattison was sidelined this week with a concussion.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Mattison suffered concussion symptoms during the Vikings’ Week 10 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, November 12, prompting Minnesota to sign Gaskin on Monday morning.
Gaskin signed with the Vikings on August 30 to bolster their running back room before the Los Angeles Rams signed him off the practice squad on October 17. The Rams released Gaskin on November 7, allowing Minnesota to sign Gaskin to the practice squad Monday. Gaskin was a seventh-round pick in 2019 and spent his first four seasons with the Miami Dolphins.
The Vikings running back is down from his top two running backs after Cam Akers suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon tear in Week 9 and Mattison is likely out this week with a concussion.
Kene Nwangwu and Ty Chandler are the only healthy running backs on the active roster heading into a Week 11 game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football. Gaskin is a smart addition to the running back room given his experience with the team this season.
Back to Minnesota: The Vikings are signing running back Myles Gaskin to their practice squad after the Rams signed him away from Minnesota, per source.
– Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 13, 2023
Ty Chandler is expected to bounce back with RB injuries
Without Akers on Sunday, the Vikings didn’t hold back and let it be known that Chandler would have to take Akers’ place.
“Obviously you’re going to see more Ty Chandler,” offensive coordinator Wes Phillips said in a Nov. 7 press conference, adding that Nwangwu, who came off the injured reserve list midway through the season, was also joining the roster. “We have some options there and we definitely feel comfortable with these guys.”
Chandler and Nwangwu will have even more work to do if Mattison doesn’t clear the concussion protocol in time for Sunday’s primetime clash. That’s a tall order considering KJ Osborn and Jaren Hall, who both suffered concussions against the Atlanta Falcons, have not yet cleared concussion protocol and were out Sunday against the Saints.
Gaskin has the most playing experience of any other healthy running back. Gaskin started in 17 games during the 2021 and 2022 seasons and recorded 1,196 yards rushing and 90 receptions for 622 yards receiving and 12 total touchdowns. He could be a change next to Chandler and Nwangwu.
The Vikings will likely play a key role in deciding who will catch the lion’s share of snaps on Sunday, although they have shown a preference for running backs who can hold their own in pass protection.
The Vikings’ running game takes on a new dimension with Josh Dobbs
The Vikings’ rushing offense is still arguably the team’s biggest weakness – but it’s been serviceable over the last two weeks.
With Josh Dobbs under center, Minnesota has averaged 135.5 yards rushing over the last two games. Dobbs has done his part with his scrambling skills, recording 110 rushing yards in his two starts.
Rushing efficiency hasn’t improved much in that span, but commitment to the run game has proven important with Dobbs under center. Minnesota averaged 20.6 carries per game in the eight weeks with Kirk COusins at quarterback.
With Dobbs, the Vikings ran the ball 33 times per game and helped Minnesota win the battle of possession.
Trevor Squire is a sports journalist who covers the Minnesota Vikings for Heavy.com. Trevor studied journalism at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and worked at the Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. You can reach him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @trevordsquire. More about Trevor Squire
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