To kick off the month of June, the Minnesota Vikings waived running back A.J. Rose to make room for incoming wide receiver Albert Wilson.
Wilson figures to compete for WR4 and special teams jobs this summer in Minnesota, while Rose landed with the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams. And Rose has an outside shot at making the Rams 53-man roster in September.
Rose is “famous” with Vikings fans as the tailback was the only source of offense for Minnesota in the 2021 preseason. Minnesota struggled mightily last summer on offense during exhibition games — until they handed the ball to Rose. In fact, Rose was the only Vikings offensive player to score a touchdown last summer. He scored twice in the final preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
But that preseason heroism couldn’t carry over to the regular season for Rose. He spent the 2021 campaign on the practice squad as rookie RB Kene Nwangwu rapidly emerged as a playmaker, canceling any opportunity for Rose to see Sunday afternoons.
Now, however, Rose could be a part of Sean McVay’s Rams in September. He certainly has the preseason experience. Rose was one of only four running backs to play 100+ snaps in the 2021 preseason. And according to RamblinFan.com, a Rams-themed website, the Kentucky alumnus has an outside shot for inclusion in Los Angeles regular season plans.
Bret Stuter from RamblinFan opined on Rose this week, “The latest and perhaps most mysterious running back in the LA Rams stable is the free-agent running back A.J. Rose Jr. After all, he was signed to the LA Rams in mid-June, long after the 2022 NFL Draft. But he arrived at a point in time after the Rams learned that they would be without drafted running back Kyren Williams was sidelined with a foot injury.”
Rose is indeed mysterious because when he’s on the field — like Kyle Sloter a few years back in Minnesota — he looks fantastic. Still, coaches evidently don’t see the light and thus disallow him from regular season snaps.
Stuter continued, “Will he stick with the LA Rams roster? Well, he has a snowball’s chance in hell. So yes, I’m saying that there is a chance.”
Rose has an uphill climb, generally speaking. These are the RBs listed on Los Angeles’s depth chart in early July:
- Cam Akers
- Darrell Henderson Jr.
- Kyren Williams
- Jake Funk
- Xavier Jones
- Calais Raymond
McVay only kept three running backs on the active roster when the 2021 season began, so Rose will have to oust four other men — or hope the Rams keep 4-5 running backs this season.
Per sportsbooks, the Rams are the fourth most-likely team to win the Super Bowl this season. No team has repeated as champions since 2004.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).