In his third spot on the training camp battle rankings, Daniel House believes a group with the reigning MVP could have a fierce position battle for the last two roster spots.
Yesterday I analyzed the wide receiver position, which displayed a wealth of depth and competition for the 5th or 6th roster spot. Today, I will analyze a running back group, which could involve a complicated battle for the 4th roster spot.
Gerhart is in no danger of losing his job, but adds an interesting element to roster reductions this season. Toby's contract expires at the end of the season and he has expressed interest to test the market, especially due to the Vikings running back situation, which includes the best running back in the game, Adrian Peterson. It wouldn't surprise me if the Vikings attempted to trade Gerhart before the season started, in an effort to receive compensation before he walks away next season. I know many question whether there are viable options to replace Gerhart's backup role to Adrian Peterson. A trade likely isn't on the horizon, but it certainly is a scenario to watch if players like Matt Asiata or Bradley Randle can show consistency.
Asiata slid onto the Vikings roster in 2012 with a flurry of optimism as a power running back. He isn't a flashy speed back, but he has shown the ability to shake off tacklers and be effective in blocking. I question whether his style will fit the Vikings philosophy and if the Vikings will look towards a "scat" back this season. They passed on a legitimate option with running back Jordan Todman during last training camp, but the positional structure is entirely dependent upon the direction the Vikings offense will go.
You all know Randle for the player we interviewed last week in an NFL journey series. Bradley is the definition of a speed back and in his interview, he stressed the importance of run blocking and how it is the essential key to being a running back in this league. The tangible I like most about Randle is his ability to play on special teams. He is known for one of the top special teams hits on kick coverage and was a huge asset for the UNLV Rebels from this standpoint. In addition, he has experience in kick and punt returning and could sneak on the roster solely for his special teams ability and potential at the running back position.
Line is considered a fullback, but ultimately will be considered a part of the running back positional group. He is the king of broken records at SMU and flirted with Eric Dickerson's school rushing record, until he missed the last three games of the 2011 season with a torn tendon in his toe. Line managed to pass Eric Dickerson in all purpose yardage, and he tied him in rushing touchdowns, but he is not at all similar to Dickerson. Line doesn't possess the speed to be a starting running back. He is the definition of a "tweener" running back, who is too big to play running back, but too small to be a goal line threat. He did receive the Vikings largest roster bonus of the undrafted free agents ($800,000), but he will need to show that he can fit among the fullback or running back title.
Next Up....#2 Offensive Guard
#4- Wide Receivers
#3- Running Backs