The Rams trade Cam Akers to the Vikings, ending his tumultuous tenure in LA

Running back Cam Akers was traded to the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday, just days after the Los Angeles Rams made him a healthy reserve for a game against the San Francisco 49ers.

The trade ends Akers’ on-again, off-again relationship with Rams coach Sean McVay and reunites the defense with Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell, who was his offensive coordinator for two seasons in Los Angeles.

Minnesota is sending a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2026 draft to Los Angeles for Akers and a conditional seventh-rounder to Los Angeles in 2026, the Vikings said in a news release. The fourth-year player, who was selected by the Rams in the second round of the 2020 draft, must still pass a physical exam for the trade to be completed.

Akers comes to a Minnesota team that ranks last in the NFL with 69 rushing yards in two games, both losses. Accordingly ESPN, the Vikings are the only team that has not completed a rush attempt of at least 10 yards this season. Minnesota’s starting back, Alexander Mattison, gained 62 yards on 19 carries, just 3.3 yards per attempt.

In his only game so far this season, a Week 1 Rams win over the Seattle Seahawks, Akers posted even worse numbers. He ran for just 29 yards on 22 carries (1.3 average) with one touchdown. According to Next Gen Stats, his minus-41 mark in rushing yards above expectations is the second-worst in the NFL.

For most of his first three seasons with the Rams, Akers was the Rams’ best defender when healthy. However, Akers split the workload with second-year defender Kyren Williams in Week 1 and then watched from the bench last week as Williams got nearly all of the backfield work in a loss to the 49ers. After that game, McVay told reporters that deactivating Akers was “in the best interest” of the team. On Monday, the Super Bowl-winning coach said the Rams were questioning Akers’ availability and that a potential trade was “the direction we’re going.”

“I’m just as confused as everyone else,” Akers had said written ahead of Sunday’s game on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. With a shrugging emoji, he added: “But I’m blessed.”

The latest sequence of events followed a tumultuous 2022 season for Akers, who led the Rams with 786 rushing yards and 903 yards from scrimmage despite leaving the team for three weeks midseason for what were officially “personal reasons.” Akers reportedly had a falling out with the coaching staff and McVay said at the time that the Rams would try to trade him, but when that didn’t materialize, the disgruntled defender eventually rejoined his squad.

Upon his return, Akers began running with more authority than he had shown earlier in the season, and he finished the 2022 season with three straight games over 100 yards and three touchdowns. Around this time, McVay said, “Given the great work he’s done, it would be silly to think anything other than.” [Akers] be a big part of what you want to do in the future.” That season had barely begun, however, when it became clear that Akers’ tenure in Los Angeles had taken another downturn.

In 2021, the Rams’ season was still two months away when Akers tore his Achilles tendon just before training camp. Typically, an injury costs a football player entire seasons, but Akers surprised many observers by making it back to the team at the end of the regular season and then playing extensively as the Rams ran through the playoffs to the championship.

“I can’t imagine an injury comeback situation that I’ve ever come close to,” Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford said shortly before the Super Bowl.

In his first four seasons after the Vikings selected him in the third round of the 2019 draft, Mattison relied on injuries to Dalvin Cook for any chance of cracking Minnesota’s starting lineup. After Cook was released in June after four straight Pro Bowl selections and then signed with the New York Jets in August, Mattison was given his chance to become a key part of the Vikings’ offense, but early results were disappointing.

Among 48 running backs with at least 10 carries this season, Mattison received the fourth-worst grade from Pro Football Focus. After playing behind a former Florida State star in Cook, Wednesday pairs Mattison with another former Seminoles standout, with Akers replacing Cook in FSU’s lineup after he left for the NFL in 2017. The Rams trade Cam Akers to the Vikings, ending his tumultuous tenure in LA

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