Backup running back Matt Asiata has become the 11th free agent to re-sign with the Vikings this season. He’s the ninth to do so on a one-year deal.
The signing returns one of the team’s most underrated players. He’s no Adrian Peterson, that’s for sure. But he is a better pass protector and pass catcher than Peterson. He also knows his limitations and runs straight ahead for as far as he can while protecting the football exceptionally well.
When Peterson missed 15 games in 2014, Asiata stepped in with career highs in starts (nine), carries (164), yards rushing (570), touchdowns (10, including nine rushing), catches (44) and yards receiving.
In 2015, he teamed with Jerick McKinnon behind Peterson, who won his third rushing title. McKinnon is the smaller change-of-pace player who brings the better chance of explosive plays. But Asiata is a dependable player with more power and much better pass protecting skills.
Asiata joined the team as an undrafted rookie in 2011. He spent a week on the practice squad and was out of football in 2012. He ran for 112 yards on 29 carries while catching 19 passes for 132 yards last season.