Vikings Running Back a Top-Trade Candidate For 2020

Mike Boone

Getty Mike Boone was awarded NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors after forcing a fumble against the Texans.

When and if the Minnesota Vikings secure starting running back Dalvin Cook to a long-term deal, the Vikings could still see changes to the team’s running back group.

Alexander Mattison is the clear-cut backup behind Cook and with Ameer Abdullah used more in a special teams role, third-string running back Mike Boone could be a likely candidate to be traded in 2020.

Pro Football Focus’ Andrew Erickson wrote that the 2020 season could see a higher demand for veteran talent amid the pandemic as teams are having to part ways with their rookies before they even enter training camp.

Here’s his take on why Boone could be traded to another team in 2020:

The Vikings’ third-string running back could be an attractive target based on his flashes in both the preseason and regular season — in addition to his freakish athletic profile. In Week 17 last year, Boone rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, averaging an outstanding 5.12 yards after contact per attempt.

Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison are comfortably entrenched ahead of Boone on the depth chart. Unless Cook’s holdout becomes an issue, Minnesota would likely be happy to welcome trade for Boone. It wouldn’t leave any fantasy impact on the Vikings’ roster but could cause a shakeup on Boone’s new team.

Boone started in the final two regular-season games of 2019. He was held in check by the Green Bay Packers, gaining just 28 yards on 11 carries as the Vikings quickly deferred to a committee approach. In Week 17, Boone rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries against the Chicago Bears starting squad as most of the Vikings starters were rested for their postseason run. He is entering his third year in the NFL after rushing for 273 yards and three touchdowns last season on 49 carries, averaging 5.6 yards per clip.

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Boone Could See More Work in 2020

With Gary Kubiak taking over playcalling as offensive coordinator in 2020, the Vikings could be committed to running the ball, even more, this season after running the ball the third-most in the NFL a season ago. Boone made a case in 2019 for an increased role in the offense with his slashing running style that emulates Cook’s and fits well with the team’s outside zone scheme.

Given the uncertainty surrounding the season and the possibility of any player missing games due to COVID-19, the Vikings may want to keep as many skill players around as possible. Dalvin Cook has also yet to play a full season in 2020, meaning Mattison and Boone could again see their roles expanded again if Cook needs rest.

If Boone does become more involved in the offense, it would improve his stock among other teams seeking a trade, and at the very least, be of value to the Vikings.

READ NEXT: Next Gen Stats: Dalvin Cook Ranked Most Explosive Running Back in NFL

Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.