Last Thursday evening, the Minnesota Vikings took on the Seattle Seahawks in their first preseason action of 2023. Less than 24 hours later, they hosted free agent RB Kareen Hunt on a visit.
Then, on Tuesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported that Minnesota worked out RB Mike Davis, tweeting, “Meanwhile, the #Vikings continued to look at veteran running backs, working out Mike Davis.”
However, that wasn’t the end of the RB saga for Tuesday. Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 not only confirmed the Davis workout, but he also tweeted that Minnesota had a third RB visit in the past five days: Ronald Awatt. Wilson tweeted, “#Vikings worked out Ronald Awatt and Mike Davis.”
The Third RB Visit for the Vikings in Past 5 Days
Awatt was an undrafted free agent this spring after spending his collegiate career at UTEP. He initially signed with the San Francisco 49ers. Unfortunately for Awatt, given the depth at San Francisco’s running back position with Christian McCaffrey and company, Awatt was released and is back on the search for another NFL team.
He spent a total of six years with the UTEP Miners (missing the entirety of the 2019 season with injury). It took until the 2020 season for him to get extended playing time, and during that 2020 season, he appeared in six games for the offense, recording 42 carries, 190 yards, and 3 TDs.
The RB truly burst onto the Conference USA scene in 2021 by putting together 159 carries for 844 yards and 6 TDs for the Miners. The yardage total ranked sixth in the conference for the season. Awatt followed that strong campaign up with another terrific one in 2022, carrying 163 times for 764 yards and 3 TDs.
The Vikings seem intent on finding some sort of extra running back competition for the remainder of training camp given how many players they’ve had come to Eagan at the position over the past few days. Keep in mind, shortly before the first preseason game, they also signed Abram Smith to the roster.
Currently, the Vikings have five running backs on the roster (six if you throw in FB C.J. Ham), including Alexander Mattison, Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu, DeWayne McBride, and Smith.
Overall, the first preseason game was a mixed bag from this group, and the Vikings are keeping their options open as a result.
Chandler was superb, totaling 70 yards from scrimmage on 15 touches. However, Nwangwu left the game early on with an injury, and it remains unclear as to the severity of his ailment.
Meanwhile, McBride took over the kick returning duties in Nwangwu’s absence and was rather underwhelming, trying to force things far too much. He averaged just 16.7 yards per return on the night, and his longest return was for only 20 yards. On offense, McBride got six carries for just 15 yards, an average of a measly 2.5 yards per carry. Smith wasn’t much better at 2.6 yards per carry on his seven carries.
For now, though, the Vikings continue to house the same six players in their backfield, but another move could be on the horizon.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.