They acquired running back Cam Akers and a conditional 2026 seventh-round pick from the Rams in exchange for a conditional 2026 sixth-round pick, pending a physical. Akers had carried 22 times for just 29 yards in the Rams' first two games but led the team with a career-high 786 yards rushing in 2022 after returning from a torn Achilles that kept him out for most of the 2021 season.
Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell and offensive coordinator Wes Phillips worked with Akers in Los Angeles, and his move to Minnesota provides another ballcarrier for a backfield that had struggled through the first two games of the season. The Vikings' 26 rushing attempts and 69 rushing yards rank last in the NFL, as the team has struggled to open holes for Alexander Mattison.
Seventeen of Akers' 188 carries last season went for at least 10 yards. So far this season, the Vikings haven't posted a run of longer than 9 yards. The trade for the 24-year-old could be a reflection of the team's need for a few big plays on the ground.
The Vikings signed Mattison to a two-year deal in March that effectively spelled the end of Dalvin Cook's six-year run in Minnesota. Though the Vikings didn't release Cook until June, when trade talks failed to materialize, they spent the spring building their backfield without him, planning for Kene Nwangwu or Ty Chandler to emerge as a counterpart to Mattison who could provide some of the longer runs they would lose without Cook, who had 30 runs of 10 yards or more in 264 carries last year.
Nwangwu, though, has been on the physically-unable-to-perform list since the start of training camp with a lower back injury, leading the Vikings to bring in players like veteran running back Kareem Hunt for a visit in August. Chandler has been active for the team's first two games as its No. 2 running back but has four carries for zero yards. Kirk Cousins, who is credited with three carries because of a scramble, a quarterback sneak and an aborted snap, is the team's second-leading rusher behind Mattison with 7 yards.
Akers is in the final year of his rookie deal and will be a free agent after the season. The Vikings will absorb most of his $1.451 million base salary for 2023.