The Minnesota Vikings have made a surprising move to acquire running back Cam Akers from the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for a 2026 sixth-round pick, according to multiple reports. The Rams will also send a 2026 seventh-round pick to the Vikings as part of the deal.
Akers unhappy with his role in LA
Akers, who was drafted in the second round by the Rams in 2020, had a promising rookie season, rushing for 625 yards and two touchdowns in 13 games. He also had a breakout performance in the playoffs, running for 221 yards and two scores in two games.
However, his second season was derailed by an Achilles injury that sidelined him for most of the year. He returned late in the season and helped the Rams win the Super Bowl, but his role was reduced in 2022 as the team relied more on backup Kyren Williams.
Akers requested a trade before the 2022 trade deadline, but the Rams decided to keep him. He expressed his frustration on social media after being a healthy scratch in Week 2 of this season, when Williams outplayed him in a loss to the 49ers.
Rams coach Sean McVay said on Monday that he had clear communication with Akers and his agent about why he was not playing, and that the team was looking for a trade partner for him.
Vikings desperate for a running game
The Vikings, meanwhile, have been struggling to run the ball this season, ranking last in the league with just 69 rushing yards through two games. Their lead back, Alexander Mattison, has been ineffective in replacing Dalvin Cook, who left the team as a free agent this offseason.
The Vikings have also been dealing with injuries to their offensive line, which has affected their ability to create running lanes. They have been forced to rely on Kirk Cousins and their passing game, which has been inconsistent and prone to turnovers.
The Vikings hope that Akers can provide them with a spark and a balance on offense. Akers is familiar with Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, who was the Rams’ offensive coordinator from 2020 to 2021. O’Connell knows how to use Akers’ strengths and versatility as a runner and a receiver.
Akers will join a backfield that also includes Ameer Abdullah and Kene Nwangwu, who have seen limited action this season. The Vikings will have to clear some cap space to fit Akers’ contract, which runs through 2023 with a fifth-year option.
How will Akers fit in Minnesota?
Akers is a talented and explosive back who can make defenders miss and break tackles. He has good vision and patience to find holes and burst through them. He can also catch passes out of the backfield and contribute on special teams.
Akers will likely become the Vikings’ primary ball carrier once he learns the playbook and gets comfortable with his new teammates. He will give Cousins another weapon to work with, along with receivers Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, and tight end Irv Smith Jr.
Akers will also face some challenges in his new environment. He will have to adjust to a different scheme and style of play than what he was used to in LA. He will also have to prove that he can stay healthy and productive after his Achilles injury, which can be difficult for running backs to recover from.
Akers will also have to deal with high expectations from the Vikings’ fan base, which is hungry for a winning season after missing the playoffs last year. The Vikings are currently 0-2 and face a tough schedule ahead, starting with a road game against the Seahawks on Sunday.
The trade for Akers is a bold and risky move by the Vikings, who are hoping to salvage their season and compete for a playoff spot. The Rams are also taking a gamble by giving up on Akers so soon after drafting him high. Both teams will be watching closely how Akers performs in his new home.