Ranking the North: A Deep Running Back Division

Dalvin Cook
Sep 11, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) pumps up the fans in the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Over the weekend, we went through the hierarchy of quarterbacks within the NFC North in the first installment of this year’s “Ranking the North” series. Today, we continue to work our way down the rosters with what may be the deepest position in the division: running backs. With names like Dalvin Cook, Aaron Jones, and David Montgomery, who sits on top?

1. Minnesota Vikings

Not only do the Vikings roster the best running back in the division, Dalvin Cook, but they always have a talented arsenal of backs behind him. Alexander Mattison is not a star by any means, but he has proven himself capable when Cook has been out of games.

Additionally, it seems very probably that Kene Nwangwu will hold a larger role in the offense during 2022, especially in the passing game. 2022 draft pick Ty Chandler is also held in high regards by many prestigious figures around the league. At its best, Minnesota looks to have a four-headed monster in the backfield this year.

2. Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers fall behind the Minnesota Vikings in terms of depth, but their top two are no joke. In fact, AJ Dillon may be on the verge of passing Aaron Jones as the top dog of the Pack this year.

Behind those two, though, is where the field runs dry. Kylin Hill was the surprise of training camp and preseason last year after being selected with the 256th overall pick of the 2021 draft. However, he missed the final nine games of the regular season after suffering a knee injury against the Cardinals. His role was very limited to that point, but if he has another strong summer, that role could expand this year.

3. Chicago Bears

In the two games that Khalil Herbert started last year, he rushed 37 times for 197 yards and a touchdown. Certainly some impressive numbers for the rookie RB, and on top of that, Chicago boasts David Montgomery on the roster.

The duo creates a very intriguing combination of power and finesse on the ground, and assuming Justin Fields takes a step forward in his second year, there could be heightened success.

4. Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions have what they hope is a budding superstar in D’Andre Swift. However, they’ve yet to give him full reign of the offense as Jamaal Williams started 11 games last year and led the team in carries.

That said, Swift offers a terrific skillset as a receiver out of the backfield. If he can develop more of his ability as a rusher, then perhaps Detroit lands in a higher spot next year.