The Minnesota Vikings have one of the best backfields in the NFL with bona fide star Dalvin Cook alongside Alexander Mattison, who has proven that he is a viable backup. However, running back is a rotating position in the NFL. It’s a grueling job that takes a heavy toll, and players play the position in many different ways in different situations. It is always the next man up, and you never want to spend too much money on one, considering how short their NFL lifespan can be.
The Vikings could find their next man up in University of North Carolina’s Ty Chandler, a dynamic running back who hoisted a struggling UNC team in 2021.
Chandler is projected to be a fifth- to seventh-round pick. That feels extremely low considering what he can provide for the team that drafts him. Chandler probably won’t be chosen as a team’s No. 1 back. He will likely find a role as a third-down back or what many people call a “scat back.”
Chandler is the prototypical modern NFL running back. As the passing game evolves to further include running backs, having an RB who doubles as a pass-catcher becomes more valuable every day.
Check out this wide-receiver-like catch Chandler made to help upset Wake Forest in 2021.
And this nearly perfect wheel route against Duke.
Chandler has great speed to complement his pass-catching ability. He is one of the faster running backs in this year’s draft.
Chandler is also a good kick returner. Check out this return from his time at Tennessee. His speed is on full display.
One of Chandler’s best attributes is his vision. He has the patience that Le’Veon Bell used to be praised for and can hit the hole as soon as it opens.
Considering Minnesota’s poor offensive line play, having the ability to hit the hole fast will be a tremendous asset.
Chandler would be of great benefit to the Vikings in 2022. Cook is one of the most dynamic backs in the NFL. Having him in the offense completely changes playcalling. However, the offense has to change when he is out of the game. Adding Chandler to the mix would allow the Vikings to streamline their playcalling.
Additionally, Chandler could help spell Cook, given that they have similar skill sets, hopefully increasing Cook’s productivity. Cook has dealt with injuries throughout his career. He is also getting older. Drafting a running back to fill in for him and reduce his carries would be ideal for prolonging his career.
Chandler is projected to go in the final rounds draft, meaning that the Vikings could get a lot of production from a late pick. It isn’t worth it to pay running backs big money, and it isn’t worth it to draft them high. They just don’t have the durability. Finding steals in the draft is a great way to solve this issue.
We are seeing it now with Deebo Samuel, who is refusing to re-sign with the San Francisco 49ers because he doesn’t want to be used as a running back.
Drafting Chandler would be very low-risk and high-reward, precisely what you want out of a running back.
Chandler started his career at Tennessee but never really solidified himself as a No. 1 running back. After four years with the Volunteers, he transferred to UNC and had his first 1,000-yard season, along with 216 receiving yards and 14 total touchdowns. UNC utilized Chandler’s athleticism fully and made the most out of their one year with him.
Sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery.
If you still aren’t sold on Chandler, the 49ers have shown the most interest in Chandler, and they have had the most success finding gems at running back.
The Vikings should look into drafting Chandler to maintain their offensive identity when Cook is on the sidelines.