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Vikings Ty Chandler

Ty Chandler vs DeWayne McBride: Who’ll Emerge As Vikings’ RB2?

  • Justin Melo
  • June 12, 2023
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The Minnesota Vikings are searching for a new backup running back after officially releasing Dalvin Cook. Sophomore running back Ty Chandler and rookie DeWayne McBride are in contention. Chandler should have the upper hand, but this position battle will be worth monitoring throughout training camp and the preseason.

Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has been preparing for Cook’s departure for quite some time. It began when the Vikings drafted Chandler with the No. 169 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. Adofo-Mensah then doubled down at the position by drafting McBride with a seventh-round pick in 2023.

Alexander Mattison, who signed a two-year extension with the Vikings earlier this summer, is the new starter. One of Chandler or McBride should find themselves in the new Mattison role. It’s an intriguing projection for two talented yet unproven backs. Chandler should be the favorite due to his familiarity with head coach Kevin O’Connell and his offense.

O’Connell utilizes his backup rushers plenty. For example, Mattison accounted for 89 total touches last season. That’s impressive considering Cook appeared in all 17 regular-season contests and was his usual workhorse self to the tune of 303 touches. Mattison is unlikely to carry a Cook-like workload, so Minnesota’s No. 2 back should be in line for 100-plus opportunities in 2023.

As expected, Chandler was an extremely limited participant while playing behind Cook and Mattison as a rookie. Chandler played just 12 total offensive snaps, carrying the football on six occasions for 20 yards. Chandler earned 39 special teams snaps, and he would have likely made a bigger impact on the third phase if not for a fractured thumb injury that landed him on IR in October.

Chandler possesses an exciting physical makeup that makes his untapped potential worth exploring. The 5-foot-11, 204-pound Chandler ran the 40-yard dash in a lightning-fast 4.38 seconds at last year’s NFL Scouting Combine. He has the juice necessary to make impact plays for O’Connell’s transitioning offense. 

Chandler may have a slight leg up, but McBride won’t concede anything without a fight. McBride was outstanding for the UAB Blazers last season, rushing for an astounding 1,713 yards. McBride’s 19 rushing touchdowns ranked second in the nation behind just Israel Abanikanda (20) and Mohamed Ibrahim (20). 

McBride offers an intriguing blend of power, size, and instincts. McBride routinely displayed outstanding vision to naturally locate gaps as a patient runner that allows for his blocks to develop. McBride projects to receive a ton of opportunities during the preseason.

Kene Nwangwu is a veteran that could potentially throw a wrench into Minnesota’s plans. A third-year contributor, Nwangwu has quickly developed into one of the league’s elite kick returners. Nwangwu has less than 30 career touches to his name, but his legit 4.2 track speed could warrant more opportunities.

The Vikings ushered in a new era by releasing Cook. Chandler is the favorite to supplant Mattison on occasion next season, but McBride is an underdog that will force Chandler to earn the role.

Written By

Justin Melo