Vikings Urged to Sign Super Bowl RB to Replace Injured Mattison

Alexander Mattison

Getty Vikings running back Alexander Mattison walking off the field after an injury in a Week 14 win over the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Minnesota Vikings running back room suffered a significant loss when starter Alexander Mattison exited their Week 14 win over the Las Vegas Raiders with an ankle injury in the third quarter.

Mattison was moving the ball effectively, tallying 10 carries for 66 yards before straining his right ankle on Sunday, December 10. Ty Chandler took over lead back duties but couldn’t find the same running room, posting 35 yards on 12 carries. The Vikings are lacking experience without Mattison because Chandler and Kene Nwangwu combined for just six carries in their careers before 2023.

Entering a crucial stretch of the season, Minnesota needs more experience in the running back room if Mattison misses any time. Fortunately, there is a veteran free agent with plenty of experience, especially in the postseason, whom the Vikings should take a look at.

Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams, who has nearly 300 carries, a 1,000-yard season and seven career playoff appearances is available for likely a veteran minimum contract.

Darrel Williams’ Super Bowl Experience Could Help Vikings

Darrel Williams

GettyFormer Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams on November 14, 2021.

Undrafted in 2018, Williams worked his way into a rotational role in the Chiefs backfield as a short-yardage thumper and a receiving threat. His strength and physical running style were on display when he scored a pair of 1-yard touchdowns in 2019 against the Detroit Lions.

The Chiefs claimed their first Super Bowl while Williams was on injured reserve during the 2019 season; however, he played a vital role in their return to the championship game in 2020.

Williams earned a start against the Cleveland Browns in the divisional round, rushing for 78 yards on 13 carries and catching all four of his targets for 16 yards receiving in a 22-17 win. He added 53 rushing yards and a touchdown on 13 carries in a 38-24 win over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship. Williams played in the Super Bowl but disappeared from the game plan as the Chiefs found themselves behind early in a 31-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Kansas City’s signing Williams to a one-year extension in 2021 proved worthwhile. He rushed for a career-high 558 rushing yards and six touchdowns while catching 47 passes for 452 yards and two touchdowns through the air to surpass 1,000 all-purpose yards in 17 games and seven starts.

Williams went on to sign a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals. The primary backup to James Conner, Williams took 21 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown, posting an average of 4.9 yards per carry in 2022. He suffered a hip injury that held him out of the team’s final nine games.

At age 28, Williams still has some tread and little wear as a free agent at this stage of the season. He isn’t going to be an explosive threat in the running game but could fit Mattison’s mold in the offense.

Injuries on the Offensive Line Impacting Vikings Running Game

Brian O'Neill

GettyVikings left tackle Brian O’Neill exited a Week 14 matchup with a left ankle injury.

At one point during Sunday’s win over the Raiders, three starting offensive linemen were missing.

Right guard Ed Ingram was out with a hip injury, while right tackle Brian O’Neill exited the game with an ankle sprain. Guard Dalton Risner also left the field for a handful of plays but returned to action.

O’Neill was seen leaving Allegiant Stadium in a walking boot, which doesn’t bode well for the entire offensive line.

David Quessenberry filled in for O’Neill and will likely be leaned on if O’Neill misses more time this season.

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