The Minnesota Vikings have brought back veteran running back Myles Gaskin after Alexander Mattison landed in concussion protocol this week.
Mattison suffered concussion symptoms during the Vikings’ Week 10 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, November 12, prompting Minnesota to sign Gaskin Monday morning, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Gaskin signed with the Vikings on August 30 as a reinforcement to the running back room before the Los Angeles Rams signed him off the practice squad on October 17. The Rams released Gaskin on November 7, which allowed Minnesota to sign Gaskin to the practice squad on Monday. A 2019 seventh-round pick, Gaskin spent his first four seasons with the Miami Dolphins.
The Vikings running back is down its top two running backs after Cam Akers suffered a season-ending torn Achilles injury in Week 9 and Mattison likely out for the week with a concussion.
Kene Nwangwu and Ty Chandler are the only healthy running backs on the active roster ahead of a Week 11 matchup with the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football. Gaskin is a wise 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 Expected to Step Up With RB Injuries
Without Akers on Sunday, the Vikings were not coy in sharing that Chandler would need to step up in Akers’ place.
“Naturally, you’re going to see more Ty Chandler, offensive coordinator Wes Phillips said in a November 7 news conference, adding that Nwangwu, coming off the injured reserve list midseason, is entering the fold as well. “We’ve got some options there and certainly feel good about those guys.”
Chandler and Nwangwu will be in line for even more work if Mattison does not clear concussion protocol in time for Sunday’s primetime matchup. That’s a tall order considering K.J. Osborn and Jaren Hall, who both suffered concussions against the Atlanta Falcons, have yet to clear concussion protocol and were out against the Saints on Sunday.
Gaskin has the most playing experience of any other running back who is healthy. Starting in 17 games across the 2021 and 2022 seasons, Gaskin posted 1,196 yards rushing along with 90 receptions for 622 yards receiving and 12 total touchdowns. He could emerge as a change-of-pace option alongside Chandler and Nwangwu.
The Vikings are likely to play the hot hand in determining who will take the lions’ share of snaps on Sunday, although they’ve shown to prioritize running backs that can hold up in pass protection.
Vikings Running Game Gets New Dimension With Josh Dobbs
The Vikings rushing offense is still arguably the greatest weakest of the team — but for the past two weeks, it has been serviceable.
With Josh Dobbs under center, Minnesota has averaged 135.5 yards rushing in the past two games. Dobbs has played his part with his scrambling ability, tallying 110 rushing yards in his two starts.
The rushing efficiency hasn’t improved dramatically in that span, but the commitment to the run game has proved important with Dobbs under center. Minnesota averaged 20.6 carries per game through the eight weeks with Kirk COusins at quarterback.
With Dobbs, the Vikings have run the ball 33 times a game, helping Minnesota win the time of possession battle.