Alexander Shun | @alexpshun
Digital Content Manager | KFAN.com
After declining the $18 million option on former Oklahoma Sooners running back Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings have a void in the backfield that needs to be filled. But are the Vikings preparing to dip back into the Oklahoma running back pool and grab another Sooner to fill that void? Maybe so.
Oklahoma does boast a very talented yet baggage-ridden running back with serious character concerns in Joe Mixon and another talented running back (perhaps not to the same extent though) in Samaje Perine. Last season Mixon racked up 1,812 total yards and 15 touchdowns, including 1,274 yards rushing. Perine totaled 1,166 total yards and 13 touchdowns, including 1,060 yards rushing. Impressive numbers from two very good backs. Yet, as I said, Mixon has some character concerns.
Mixon has been surrounded in controversy ever since a video surfaced of him punching a woman in the face breaking her jaw and cheekbone. The running back has since apologized and expressed his regret for the situation, but the disturbing video lingers and the thought of adding a player, adding a man, who has committed such a crime would almost certainly bring backlash from both fans and the community.
So are the Vikings even interested in adding Mixon?
Well at Oklahoma's pro day on Wednesday, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and Head Coach Mike Zimmer were spotted. To add to the intrigue, they were joined by Vikings running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu.
Both Mixon and Perine are expected to be available when the Vikings make their first pick of the draft (48th overall) though it is unclear which back the Vikings are truly interested in.
Mixon is viewed as the drastically more-talented running back but he has character issues, while Perine perhaps doesn't have quite the ceiling that Mixon does, but does boast a blemish-free past.
The Vikings did meet with Perine while at the combine so they very well could have been scouting him over Mixon, however, Mixon put up some pretty impressive numbers at his pro day and could very well have caught the eye of the Vikings brass.
For a quick comparison, let's grab Mixon's numbers from the combine and put them next to those of, arguably the best running back in the NFL right now, Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell.
Mixon came in 6'5", 228lbs, had a broad jump of 9'10", a vertical of 35" and ran a 4.40 40-yard dash.
Bell, on the other hand, came in at 6'1", 230lbs, a broad jump of 9'10", a vertical of 31.5" and ran a 4.6 40-yard dash.
Those are hard numbers to ignore.
We'll have to wait until the draft in April to find out what the Vikings are thinking or which players are even going to be available, but the Vikings are clearly intrigued by an Oklahoma running back, the only question is, which back is it?