Vikings bolster run game, get RB Cam Akers in trade with Rams

The Minnesota Vikings continued an aggressive response to their rushing woes Wednesday, acquiring running back Cam Akers from the Los Angeles Rams, the teams announced.

The deal, which is pending a physical, includes a swap of 2026 draft picks, with the Vikings also getting a conditional seventh-round pick and the Rams getting a conditional sixth-rounder.

The Vikings have an NFL-low 69 rushing yards this season after bidding farewell to former starter Dalvin Cook and replacing him with longtime backup Alexander Mattison. They have also attempted only 23 carries by running backs while funneling most of their offense through a passing game that has produced the NFL's second-most yards (674).

The Vikings have started the season 0-2, and coach Kevin O'Connell has said multiple times in recent days that he wants the running game to get more reliable and efficient. On Tuesday, the Vikings signed free agent guard Dalton Risner with hopes of getting him into the starting lineup in the coming weeks.

Wednesday's deal to acquire Akers reunited him with both O'Connell and Vikings offensive coordinator Wes Phillips, both of whom were with the Rams during the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Speaking Wednesday before the trade was announced, O'Connell said: "It's one of the fun parts of the job when you can visually and collectively as a group identify some things and [say], 'Let's go fix them. Let's go try to do them better and see what that looks like.'"

The Vikings have been seeking depth behind Mattison since backup Kene Nwangwu suffered a back injury in training camp and ultimately went on injured reserve. They hosted free agent Kareem Hunt on a visit in August and signed veteran Myles Gaskin after the Miami Dolphins released him as part of their final roster cuts.

Second-year player Ty Chandler has served as Mattison's backup for the first two games, but he has gotten only 19 snaps as a running back. It remains to be seen if Akers will replace Chandler on the depth chart or whether the Vikings will push him toward Mattison's role.

For Akers, the deal ends a murky period of distance with the Rams. Coach Sean McVay said the decision to deactivate Akers last week was a "coach's decision" that was made in the "best interest" of the team. Akers posted a message on X before the Rams' game against the San Francisco 49ers that said: "I'm just as confused as everybody else. I'm blessed though."

McVay said Monday that Akers' social media post was "surprising."

"I feel very good about the clarity that was provided to him on Friday and Saturday, both through he and [agent] David Mulugheta," McVay said. "And that's unfortunate, but I feel like it was very clear in regards to our dialogue."

Last season, Akers spent nearly a month away from the Rams in the middle of the season after McVay said they explored the option of finding the running back "a fresh new start with another team." Earlier last year, McVay told reporters that he wanted to see more urgency from Akers. McVay said Sunday that this situation with Akers "is different" from what transpired last season but did not get into specifics.

ESPN's Sarah Barshop contributed to this story.