Exploring The Vikings’ Other RB Stalemate

NCAA Football: Alabama-Birmingham at Marshall
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

So much attention has been paid to Dalvin Cook and his never-ending trade saga that another RB situation is playing out in real time without too much attention: the still-unsigned rookie contract for DeWayne McBride.

The Vikings’ other RB issue is an ongoing drama that’s playing out behind the curtain. Yes, Dalvin Cook’s situation has taken center stage, but there’s something else going on in the same RB room.

In the middle of May, PurplePTSD explored the 5 items that remain on Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s checklist. The third item – sign all the draft picks – appeared to be a formality. Moving on from Za’Darius Smith gave the Vikings plenty of cap space and Jordan Addison was signed in short order. Welcoming Addison onto the team (at least in an official capacity) meant that the team only had to sign their RB.

Nov 13, 2021; Huntington, West Virginia, USA; UAB Blazers running back DeWayne McBride (22) runs the ball against the Marshall Thundering Herd during the fourth quarter at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

A 7th-round selection, DeWayne McBride hasn’t put pen to paper. What’s the issue?

The Vikings’ Other RB Situation

Optimism is surprisingly high for the UAB runner. While he isn’t known as a receiver, McBride has received plenty of praise for his abilities as a runner. Quite often, a team’s 7th-round selection(s) doesn’t even make the team, let alone get onto the field for real NFL action. McBride, though, has been inspiring some hope.

Last season, he had 233 carries, 1713 rushing yards, and 19 touchdowns. Eye-popping numbers. What’s notable is that those elite rushing totals co-exist with just a pair of catches and a measly 10 yards receiving. That’s right: McBride’s 2022 season ended with 2 catches and 10 yards. His 7.4 yards per carry easily outproduced his 5.0 yards per catch.

The hope is that he’ll slot into a deep running back room, carving out a nice role early on as someone who can churn out yards when needed. Alexander Mattison – someone whom Kevin O’Connell recently praised for being capable of being a 3-down back – looks like the clear-cut RB1. After him, the task will fall to Ty Chandler. True, Kene Nwangwu remains, but he’s almost exclusively a kickoff returner at this stage.

The RB3 job could very plausibly belong to DeWayne McBride if 1) Cook is traded and 2) Nwangwu is exclusively a special teams player. The problem? Well, he needs to sign his deal.

Explosive RB Prospect to Visit Vikings
Nov 13, 2021; Huntington, West Virginia, USA; UAB Blazers running back DeWayne McBride (22) celebrates after running for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

The options for a recent draft pick are quite limited. There can be some back and forth about minor details in the wording of the contract, but the meat and potatoes are already in place. Apparently, there’s some sort of hang up that’s causing each side to hesitate with getting the deal across the finish line.

And, to be sure, McBride should push for a deal he likes. NFL careers are short, especially for a position as demanding as running back. If I was an NFL RB – an impossibility given that I ran a 5.5 forty in high school – I’d be looking to ensure the deal was to my liking.

In the end, DeWayne McBride will be a Minnesota Viking. The chances of the disconnect becoming so monstrous that he doesn’t sign a rookie deal with the Vikings are incredibly small. The hope is simply that there’s no distraction and that the player & team find a resolution so that things can proceed in a smooth manner.

Currently, Minnesota is working through OTAs. Next up will be the mandatory mini camp and then training camp. In other words, McBride will be looking to earn his spot on the team as the coming months continue to unfold.

Editor’s Note: Information from Sports Reference CFB helped with this piece.