Rams trade RB Cam Akers to Vikings: Why now and how he fits in Minnesota

Written by Diana Rossini, Jordan Rodrigue, Alec Lewis, and Brandon Funston

The Los Angeles Rams have agreed to trade Cam Akers and a conditional 2026 seventh-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a conditional 2026 sixth-round pick, the two teams announced on Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Akers was healthy inactive Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. Coach Sean McVay and his teammates seemed unsure at the time if Akers would be back with the team.
  • The 24-year-old had 22 carries for 29 yards and a rushing touchdown in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks.
  • Akers, a second-round draft pick by Los Angeles in 2020, had 188 carries for 786 yards and seven touchdowns in 2022.

The athleteReal-time analysis:

Why trade Rams Akers now

Team sources indicated that Akers’ healthy scratch was related to performance and consistency and not exclusive to games. McVay said publicly on Sunday night that it was “different” than Akers being away from the team in 2022.

The Rams tried and failed to trade Akers in 2022 after a period of what team sources described as communication issues between the linebacker and the team, including McVay as well as Akers’ first-year coach at the time. Akers returned to the team and averaged over 100 yards per game over Los Angeles’ last three games, poised to take over the leadership role in 2023.

But Kyren Williams, back for the second year in a row, is back from an injury in 2022, and the Rams drafted running back Zach Evans in the spring and changed their scheme to include more gap concepts (away from the middle zone they were running with Akers). — Rodrigue

Why this makes sense for the Vikings

The Vikings entered the 2023 season with a clear goal: run the football more efficiently than they did in 2022. Through two games, not only has that happened, but the team ranks 32nd in expected points added per rush, according to TruMedia.

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Neither yards per carry nor success rates paint a better picture, and while numerous factors contributed to the ground game’s struggles, Minnesota was not willing to sit idly by, especially in a wide-open NFC North. Both Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell and offensive coordinator Wes Phillips have familiarity with the Packers that should help him transition to a new offense.

Minnesota is unlikely to move on from Alexander Mattison or Ty Chandler right now, but the staff is looking for efficiency, and if Akers can help the team in that endeavor, he will play. —Louis

Fancy look

The change of scenery was long overdue for Akers, and landing with a former coach who knows what he brings to the table and already had the desire to add that to his team’s mix is ​​at least encouraging in his ability to get back on track. . It is, first and foremost, a wake-up call for Matteson. I expect over the next few weeks we will see Matteson and Akers vying for the position. Whether that leads to a clear starter/backup hierarchy, or if it eventually becomes a platoon/hot position, remains to be seen. If you’ve been sticking by Akers up to this point, you should at least see how things are turning around now that he’s in Minnesota.

In terms of how the full-backs rank for the rest of the season, Mattison remains at the top with the right-back ranked outside the top 30, just behind Jerome Ford and Raheem Mostert, with both full-backs also likely to contend with the competition in the coming weeks.

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Akers falls outside the top 40 RB list, in a neighborhood that includes the likes of Dalvin Cook, Joshua Kelly, and Antonio Gibson, to name a few.

Do you have to cut anyone off? Ty Chandler seems like the obvious choice to drop. Mattison still has to play an important role (for now – maybe the move will spark something in him) and Akers should be detained until further notice. We won’t be starting Akers this week, but with injuries recurring in the league, any player who plays a significant role should be retained to some degree. — Funston

Go deeper

Fantasy football fallout from Cam Akers trade to Minnesota Vikings

Dramatic story

Akers posted 360 carries for 1,443 yards and 10 touchdowns during his four seasons in Los Angeles. He tore his Achilles tendon in July 2021 but returned in time for the Rams’ 2022 Super Bowl run.

Required reading

(Photo: Kirby Lee/USA Today)

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