Running back Cam Akers said the "situation is pretty much perfect" with his new team in Minnesota, where he passed a physical and practiced with the Vikings on Thursday after being acquired for a late-round pick swap.
But why was Akers, a recent second-round pick and the Rams' top back entering Week 1, a healthy scratch in Week 2 by Rams coach Sean McVay and shipped out of town days later?
"I don't know," Akers said Friday. "I'm just happy to be here. Happy for a fresh start and happy for the opportunity to come in and contribute whatever way I can for this team."
Akers is not expected to play for the Vikings on Sunday, but he is eager to earn a role as soon as the Oct. 1 game at Carolina. O'Connell was the Rams offensive coordinator in 2020 when the team drafted Akers, whom O'Connell touted as someone who "fits right in with our team, our culture."
"As far as what led to him being available — really not of concern to me," said O'Connell, who maintains a relationship with McVay. "There's always going to be some communication there with some relationships and things like that, but this is really just about Cam and what I look at as a fresh start."
Akers, 24, is a talented runner who had a strong finish last season after a torn Achilles in 2021. Vikings coaches like his three-down skill set and quickness. Akers said the Vikings playbook is similar to the Rams'.
"A lot of the stuff carries over from L.A.," Akers said. "I know 90 percent of the playbook coming in, so just getting to know the team, the coaches, the people. They're probably the main learning curve for me right now."
As O'Connell tries to revive the league's last-place rushing attack, he said both Alexander Mattison and Akers will have roles in the offense. O'Connell said he spoke with Mattison and told him "nothing changes" about his leading role.
"Talked to K.O. and got his perspective on it," Mattison said. "I'm all for bringing in anyone that can help this team out in any way. I want us to have the best backfield in the league."
Davenport ruled out; Ekeler, Kendricks out, too
Vikings edge rusher Marcus Davenport has been ruled out against the Chargers because of an ankle injury that kept him from practicing this week. Davenport injured his right ankle days before the Sept. 10 season opener against the Buccaneers. His debut in the Sept. 14 loss at Philadelphia was cut short after just four snaps.
"It's been a unique situation," O'Connell said. "The reaction to some of the [treatment] and the response to the injury has kind of kept him from progressing on an upward trajectory."
Center Garrett Bradbury (back) is listed as questionable and "progressing pretty well," O'Connell said. Left tackle Christian Darrisaw (ankle) is expected to play Sunday.
The Chargers ruled out running back Austin Ekeler (ankle) and linebacker Eric Kendricks (hamstring), the former Vikings star who signed with Los Angeles after being released in March.
Chargers edge rusher Joey Bosa (hamstring) is listed as questionable.
Risner repping at left and right guard
Guard Dalton Risner said he worked at both left guard and right guard during practices this week. He could be active Sunday as a backup option before possibly progressing into the starting lineup. Offensive coordinator Wes Phillips said Risner's wealth of experience has made for an easy transition.
All of Risner's 62 NFL starts have come at left guard, "but I'm righthanded," he said when professing his confidence on the right side of the line. Perhaps Risner's biggest acclimation will be working into game shape without a training camp.
"I'm beat up. I worked my butt off this week," said Risner, 28. "Got some bruises — you can see my neck a little bit. But whenever coaches call my name, I'm ready to go."
• With 150 receiving yards against the Chargers, Justin Jefferson can surpass Wes Welker's 2011 season for most receiving yardage in a player's first three games. He would also be the first NFL player ever to start a season with three straight 150-yard receiving games.
• The Vikings have seen just two kickoffs returned — one by them, one by an opponent — compared to 17 touchbacks through two games. Special teams coordinator Matt Daniels said returns will increase during the season. "Kickers' legs are going to start getting tired; cold weather is going to start playing a role," Daniels said.
• Angels manager Phil Nevin and some Angels coaches were guests at TCO Performance Center before Friday night's game against the Twins at Target Field. This was not the Angels' first visit to Vikings headquarters since O'Connell, a former Rams assistant coach, came from Los Angeles.