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The Vikings re-signed fullback C.J. Ham to a contract extension Wednesday, according to his agency. The move should give Minnesota more salary cap relief while retaining a key leader in the locker room for another two seasons.

Ham, 29, was commanding a $3.8 million cap charge in the final year of his contract. The Vikings likely lowered his figure for this season as the team toes the salary cap, and currently holds two veteran contracts at running back in Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison.

Ham, who has appeared in 96 of 98 regular season games the past six seasons, has been a core special teams contributor. He has ranked sixth or higher in special teams snaps since making the active roster. The former Duluth and Augustana running back was originally an undrafted tryout signing by the Vikings in 2016. He was voted by teammates as a special teams captain last season.

The fullback didn't have much room in head coach Kevin O'Connell's offense last season. Ham's playing time dipped, peaking with 13 to 18 snaps in seven games and ranking 10th among all NFL fullbacks in playing time. He ranked top three from 2019 to 2021.

But re-establishing the run is part of the agenda for O'Connell after the Vikings ranked 27th in rushing yardage and 28th in rushing attempts. Better efficiency, not necessarily more volume, is the goal, O'Connell said.

"A main goal of mine is to have some improvement in our running game," O'Connell said March 1 at the NFL Scouting Combine. "The home runs and the long ones are great, but as a play caller, I would love to be second-and-5. I think the number one rushing team in the league averaged over five yards a carry, and if you tell me I'm in second-and-5, here we go."

O'Connell said the Vikings are looking for "more friendly circumstances" from which to attack. The running game also can help counter the deep coverage that the NFL's leading receiver, Justin Jefferson, often commanded.

"This organization saw a shift in how we were defended from previous years to this year," he said. "No greater example than getting nearly 65-percent shell coverage over our last six games, which was almost 20 percent higher than any other team in our league."