Vikings RB, Emergency QB Likely Out for Season After Injury

Kevin O'Connell

Getty Vikings coach Kevin O'Connel during the team's 2023 preseason game against the Tennessee Titans.

The Minnesota Vikings pulled off an improbable comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 9 on the shoulders of fill-in quarterback Josh Dobbs.

Dobbs came into the game after rookie starter Jaren Hall was placed in concussion protocol after the team’s second drive and claimed a 31-28 victory at Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

There was another during the game loss on offense as well.

Running back Cam Akers suffered an Achilles injury that the Vikings fear is season-ending, head coach Kevin O’Connell stated in a postgame news conference, per Star Tribune beat reporter Ben Goessling. Dr. David Chao, formerly the Los Angeles Chargers‘ head team physician, projected Akers to be out for the season.

Down to just two quarterbacks with Kirk Cousins and Nick Mullens on the injured reserve list, the Vikings gave Akers the third “green dot” designation, which signals that a player has a play-calling speaker in his helmet — meaning Akers was the emergency quarterback on Sunday.

The good news: Minnesota didn’t have to resort to Akers at quarterback with Dobbs leading the team to an impressive victory on just four days in the Vikings system.

The bad news: Minnesota’s running game takes a significant hit with Akers likely out for the season, leaving Alexander Mattison as the only other running back to touch the ball on Sunday. The Vikings are also down to only Dobbs and Sean Mannion, currently on the practice squad, as the only quarterbacks available for next week if Hall remains in concussion protocol.

Akers’ status for the rest of the season will be confirmed in the coming days, but the Vikings will have to prepare to move on without the former Los Angeles Rams running back who was acquired on the terms of a late-round pick swap.

Vikings Likely Off the Hook in Cam Akers Trade

Cam Akers

GettyCam Akers

A 2020 second-round pick, Akers had shown flashes of potential throughout his career but struggled to stay on the field.

The conditions of the trade involved the Rams sending a seventh-round pick in exchange for a sixth-rounder in 2026. However, the pick swap is under terms that Akers is unlikely to meet if he is out for the season.

“Akers must combine for 500 yards rushing and receiving for the picks to count,” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported at the time of the trade. “Presumably, that’s just within this season, as Akers is in the final year of his rookie contract.”

Akers accrued 138 yards rushing in six games so far this season, meaning Minnesota the pick swap will be null if he does not play another game in purple and gold.

It’s an unfortunate outcome for Akers and the Vikings, which began to give him a larger share of the workload in the backfield the past few weeks, however, it was a low-risk trade that won’t impact Minnesota in the long run.

Next Man Up for Vikings RBs

Alexander Mattison

GettyAlexander Mattison

The Vikings running back room was tasked with carrying on without Dalvin Cook this season — but that has been easier said than done in Minnesota.

The running game has been the team’s greatest weakness, tallying the second-fewest yards rushing from scrimmage (73.3 per game) in the league through eight weeks.

Without Cousins, the Vikings will need a more balanced attack for the offense to remain productive, and that onus falls back on Mattison who has struggled this season, averaging only 3.5 yards per carry through nine weeks.

Kene Nwangwu and Ty Chandler were considered to be change-of-pace backs to Mattison, but Minnesota opted to trade for Akers and give him the secondary work in the run game after just three weeks.

Nwangwu was on injured reserve to start the season but has been active for the past two weeks.

Minnesota could look to the free-agent market to add another running back to the roster this week considering the other backs’ lack of involvement in the offense.

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