Minnesota Vikings running back Cam Akers ruptured his left Achilles tendon in another blow to a banged-up offense, a season-ending injury confirmed Monday by coach Kevin O'Connell.
Akers was hurt Sunday in the win at Atlanta, where he had eight carries for 25 yards. Acquired Sept. 20 in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams, Akers had 138 yards on 38 attempts plus 11 receptions for 70 yards in six games for the Vikings. He has one of Minnesota's two rushing touchdowns this season. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs had one against the Falcons.
Alexander Mattison remained the starter after Akers arrived, but the fourth-year player provided a useful complement to the powerful Mattison with a quicker burst at the line of scrimmage. Regardless of who's running the ball, the blocking has been a major problem for the Vikings this season. They're 27th in the NFL with an average of 3.7 yards per rush.
Akers tore his right Achilles tendon in an offseason workout before the 2021 season with the Rams and made a remarkably fast recovery to return in less than six months for the playoffs for the eventual Super Bowl champions.
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Without Akers, Ty Chandler will be the primary backup to Mattison, with Kene Nwangwu as a third option. Mattison has 434 yards on 122 rushes plus 158 yards and three touchdowns on 23 receptions. Chandler has 13 touches for 85 total yards.
The injury to Akers left the Vikings with their second torn Achilles tendon in as many weeks following the loss of quarterback Kirk Cousins. Rookie Jaren Hall started in his place against the Falcons and was forced out in the first quarter with a concussion before the newcomer Dobbs rallied the Vikings to victory. Nick Mullens, the original backup, has been sidelined by a back injury for the last four weeks.
Wide receiver Justin Jefferson was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring strain at the same time as Mullens. Both players are eligible to return this week. O'Connell said there's a possibility Jefferson would begin practicing Wednesday but sounded a note of caution about bringing him back too quickly.
Hall remained in the concussion protocol Monday with wide receiver K.J. Osborn, who also was knocked out of the game Sunday with a hit to the head.
With Hall and Mullens uncertain for action, Dobbs will take the first team turns in practice this week and prepare to start against New Orleans.