Remember the only keyholder of the Minnesota Vikings offense in the 2021 preseason?
His name was A.J. Rose, a running back, and he was released by the Vikings this summer to make room for free-agent WR addition Albert Wilson. Rose soon latched on to the Los Angeles Rams, but the stay in Tinseltown only lasted two months as he was released by the Super Bowl champions on Saturday.
In 2021, when the Rams still employed Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell, Los Angeles carried just three running backs on the regular season roster, so the move to drop Rose isn’t too surprising. Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, and Kyren Williams are in line to make the Rams 53-man cut.
An undrafted free agent in 2021 from Kentucky, the Vikings added Rose to the roster in a practice-squad capacity. He performed marvelously in the preseason last summer for Minnesota, leading some fans to believe he could make an impact at some point in meaningful regular season action. But Rose never received that opportunity with the Vikings, unable to get on the field in the 2021 regular season. And when the franchise drafted Ty Chandler from North Carolina in the 2022 NFL Draft, Rose’s Vikings fate was all but sealed.
Last year, the Vikings preseason offense struggled so terribly in 2021 that Rose was the only source of offensive points. Indeed, the Klint Kubiak-led offense floundered during exhibition games, and handing to ball to Rose was the only solace for production.
Still, to one’s eye test, Rose “looks the part,” so his career as a fringe RB3 can perhaps continue. The 24-year-old is likely headed toward a practice squad stint in 2022 as NFL teams can plop 16 players in that reserve.
The Vikings, on the other hand, have an RB quandary to ponder for the next week and a half. The team employs Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Kene Nwangwu, the aforementioned Chandler, and fullback C.J. Ham. Five RBs and FBs are unlikely to make the team, leaving a potentially excruciating decision for August 30th, the day teams must dwindle rosters down to 53 men.
Rose also played quarterback in high school.
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).