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Vikings 2019 Running Back Match-ups

Below is a list of opposing running backs the Vikings defense will meet in the 2019 season. The season is sure to offer a few intriguing match-ups against Pro Bowlers like Devonta Freeman, Saquon Barkley, and Ezekiel Elliott.

Week 1: Devonta Freeman (Atlanta Falcons)

Image result for devonta freeman falcons
2018 Stats (2 Games)
14 Carries, 68 Yards, 4.9 YPC, 0 Touchdowns
5 Receptions, 23 Yards, 0 Touchdowns

Devonta Freeman missed almost all of the 2018 season due to injury so don’t mistake low numbers for a cake walk in the park. The former Pro Bowler is sure to regain his elite form if he’s 100% healthy. A tall task for Zimmer’s defense to kick off the season.


Week 2: Aaron Jones (Green Bay Packers)

Image result for aaron jones packers
2018 Stats (12 Games)
133 Carries, 728 Yards, 5.5 YPC, 8 Touchdowns
26 Receptions, 206 Yards, 1 Touchdown

Aaron Jones is in my opinion, one of the most underrated running backs in all of football. Maybe even the most underrated. His combination of elite vision and quickness make him a force to be reckoned with each and every week.



Week 3: Josh Jacobs (Oakland Raiders)

Image result for josh jacobs raiders
2018 Stats: N/A
The first round rookie out of Alabama gets to travel to Minnesota in his third game as a pro. His combination of size and power will make things tough against Zimmer’s offensive line.



Week 4: Mike Davis, Tarik Cohen, and David Montgomery (Chicago Bears)

Image result for tarik cohen bears
Mike Davis 2018 Stats (15 Games)
112 Carries, 514 Yards, 4.6 YPC, 4 Touchdowns
34 Receptions, 214 Yards, 1 Touchdown


Tarik Cohen 2018 Stats (16 Games)
99 Carries, 444 Yards, 4.5 YPC, 3 Touchdowns
71 Receptions, 725 Yards, 5 Touchdowns


David Montgomery 2018 Stats: N/A
The dangerous thing about three-headed monsters is that each head has it’s each own unique quality that make them hard to defend. Mike Davis was brought over from Seattle as the likely workhorse that will handle short-yardage duties in replace of Jordan Howard who was dealt to Philadelphia. Tarik Cohen is a mismatch nightmare in the receiving game, and David Montgomery is a rookie out of Iowa State who will likely end up being the starter within a year or two, who does more than just one thing well at a quality level. This trio is likely to provide mismatches for any defense…even Mike Zimmer’s.



Week 5: Saquon Barkley (New York Giants)

Image result for saquon barkley giants
2018 Stats (16 Games)
261 Carries, 1,307 Yards, 5.0 YPC, 11 Touchdowns
91 Receptions, 721 Yards, 4 Touchdowns

Week 5 will probably pose as the biggest challenge for the Vikings run defense in 2019. Saquon Barkley is the heart-beat of the Giants offense and they live and die through him. If Vikings fans want any idea of what this challenge may look like, just picture any Vikings team from 2007-2015 (excluding 2009) that relied on Adrian Peterson to carry them each and every season.



Week 6: Jordan Howard & Miles Sanders (Philadelphia Eagles)

Image result for jordan howard eagles
Jordan Howard 2018 Stats (16 Games)
250 Carries, 935 Yards, 3.7 YPC, 9 Touchdowns
20 Receptions, 145 Yards, 0 Touchdowns

Miles Sanders 2018 Stats: N/A

The Vikings defense will welcome a familiar face in week 6. Jordan Howard was dealt to Philadelphia this spring from Chicago in exchange for a draft pick. Howard has given the Vikings defense some fits in the past. His reliability and nose for the goal-line makes him a dangerous threat. He is also running behind a much better offensive line now than he was in Chicago, in my opinion. Rookie running back Miles Sanders (Penn State) will likely be the guy handling the load on third downs and in the receiving game.



Week 7: Kerryon Johnson & Theo Riddick (Detroit Lions)

Image result for kerryon johnson
Kerryon Johnson 2018 Stats (10 Games)
118 Carries, 641 Yards, 5.4 YPC, 3 Touchdowns
32 Receptions, 213 Yards, 1 Touchdown

Theo Riddick 2018 Stats (14 Games)
40 Carries, 171 Yards, 4.3 YPC, 0 Touchdowns
61 Receptions, 384 Yards, 0 Touchdowns

As long as Matthew Stafford is the man under center in the Motor City, they will always be a pass first offense. Kerryon Johnson seems to be a guy who is being molded in the feature back role in Detroit, but Theo Riddick continues to prove each and every season that he deserves to get his own fair share of touches. The Vikings defense has had a pretty good amount of success in the past against Detroit running backs.



Week 8: Adrian Peterson, Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson (Washington Redskins)

Image result for adrian peterson redskins
Adrian Peterson 2018 Stats (16 Games)
251 Carries, 1,042 Yards, 4.2 YPC, 7 Touchdowns
20 Receptions, 208 Yards, 1 Touchdown

Derrius Guice 2018 Stats: N/A

Chris Thompson 2018 Stats (10 Games)
43 Carries, 178 Yards, 4.1 YPC, 0 Touchdowns
41 Receptions, 268 Yards, 1 Touchdown

Similar to the Bears’ dynamic backfield, the Redskins also offer a diverse group full of guys that could each hold his own as a starter. Adrian Peterson returns to Minnesota for the second time since 2017…this time in a Redskins uniform. The Redskins have a shaky QB depth chart that includes Case Keenum, Colt McCoy, and first round pick Dwayne Haskins who will battle it out in training camp for the starting job. I expect a heavy dose of rushing attempts in week 8.



Week 9: Damien Williams (Kansas City Chiefs)

Image result for damien williams chiefs
2018 Stats (16 Games)
50 Carries, 256 Yards, 5.1 YPC, 4 Touchdowns
23 Receptions, 160 Yards, 2 Touchdowns

Do not be deceived by the numbers. Damien Williams appeared in 16 games for the Chiefs in 2018, but didn’t become the full-time workhorse until Kareem Hunt was cut late in the season. This is one match-up Vikings fans shouldn’t overestimate. Damien Williams can do it all and having a guy like Patrick Mahomes to take the workload off isn’t too bad either.



Week 10: Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas Cowboys)

Image result for ezekiel elliott cowboys
2018 Stats (15 Games)
304 Carries, 1,434 Yards, 4.7 YPC, 6 Touchdowns
77 Receptions, 567 Yards, 3 Touchdowns

Another tough test for the Vikings defense as they head to “Jerry World” for Sunday Night Football to face off against Zeke Elliott…an all-around back that can do it all. Some consider Elliott to be the best in football. Running behind an offensive line with three Pro Bowlers on it…the Vikings defense better come ready to play.



Week 11: Phillip Lindsay (Denver Broncos)

Image result for phillip lindsay broncos
2018 Stats (15 Games)
192 Carries, 1,037 Yards, 5.4 YPC, 9 Touchdowns
35 Receptions, 241 Yards, 1 Touchdown

The Denver Broncos have their own Adam Thielen story. Phillip Lindsay was born and raised in Colorado, became an undrafted free agent, signed with his home state, and made the Pro Bowl. At 5’8″, 190 pounds, Lindsay proved to all of his doubters that there’s not a thing he can’t do. Back to back weeks of Ezekiel Elliott and Phillip Lindsay is a brutal scenario for Zimmer’s defense.



Week 12: BYE WEEK

Week 13: Chris Carson & Rashaad Penny (Seattle Seahawks)

Image result for chris carson seahawks
Chris Carson 2018 Stats (14 Games)
247 Carries, 1,157 Yards, 4.7 YPC, 9 Touchdowns
20 Receptions, 163 Yards, 0 Touchdowns

Rashaad Penny 2018 Stats (14 Games)
85 Carries, 419 Yards, 4.9 YPC, 2 Touchdowns
9 Receptions, 75 Yards, 0 Touchdowns

These aren’t the two sexiest running back names in the book and there’s a couple more very serviceable guys behind them that can play at a high level as well including JD McKissic and CJ Prosise, but the Seahawks do one thing very well and that’s run, run, run. The Seattle Seahawks led the league in rushing in 2018 and they are very good at wearing teams down late in the game. The Vikings defense will have to play better this year if they are to beat this team.



Week 14: Kerryon Johnson & Theo Riddick (Detroit Lions)

Week 15: Melvin Gordon & Austin Ekeler (Los Angeles Chargers)

Image result for melvin gordon chargers
Melvin Gordon 2018 Stats (12 Games)
175 Carries, 885 Yards, 5.1 YPC, 10 Touchdowns
50 Receptions, 490 Yards, 4 Touchdowns

Austin Ekeler 2018 Stats (14 Games)
106 Carries, 554 Yards, 5.2 YPC, 3 Touchdowns
39 Receptions, 404 Yards, 3 Touchdowns

Melvin Gordon is another back on the Vikings schedule who is considered by most to be sniffing that elite status. Gordon battled through some injuries in 2018 but when he’s fully healthy, he’s arguably the most dangerous weapon in the Los Angeles arsenal. His counterpart Austin Ekeler was also one of Pro Football Focus’s most efficient backs in 2018.



Week 16: Aaron Jones (Green Bay Packers)

Week 17: Mike Davis, Tarik Cohen, David Montgomery (Chicago Bears)

The Full List

Week 1: Devonta Freeman (Atlanta Falcons)

Week 2: Aaron Jones (Green Bay Packers)

Week 3: Josh Jacobs (Oakland Raiders)

Week 4: Mike Davis, Tarik Cohen, David Montgomery (Chicago Bears)

Week 5: Saquon Barkley (New York Giants)

Week 6: Jordan Howard & Miles Sanders (Philadelphia Eagles)

Week 7: Kerryon Johnson & Theo Riddick (Detroit Lions)

Week 8: Adrian Peterson, Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson (Washington Redskins)

Week 9: Damien Williams (Kansas City Chiefs)

Week 10: Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas Cowboys)

Week 11: Phillip Lindsay (Denver Broncos)

Week 12: BYE

Week 13: Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, CJ Prosise (Seattle Seahawks)

Week 14: Kerryon Johnson & Theo Riddick (Detroit Lions)

Week 15: Melvin Gordon & Austin Ekeler (Los Angeles Chargers)

Week 16: Aaron Jones (Green Bay Packers)

Week 17: Mike Davis, Tarik Cohen, David Montgomery (Chicago Bears)

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