The Vikings have re-issued the number once worn by Chuck Foreman. And the rookie who will be wearing it has a chance to leap into the 53-man roster.
Mike Boone, undrafted and uninvited to the Scouting Combine, got the attention of the Vikings due in part to his jumping ability. As in 42 inches. As in 11.5 inches higher than incumbent starter Dalvin Cook from a year ago.
Per Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Boone’s 42-inch vertical and his 11-foot broad jump would have been the best among all running backs at the Combine. His 4.45-second 40 and 25 reps in the 225-pound bench would have put him at third at his position in Indianapolis.
“Not to be cocky,” Boone recent said via Craig, “but I feel I’m a little talented.”
Boone, who played at the University of Cincinnati, will get a chance to prove his talent in the competition for the third tailback spot on the roster, behind Cook and Latavius Murray. The other contenders include undrafted rookie Roc Thomas and third-year veteran Mack Brown, who has only 16 career regular-season carries.
While the measurable are off the charts, Boone’s college performance wasn’t eye-popping. He had 463 yards rushing (4.2 per attempt) in 2017 and 388 yards (3.7) in 2016. In 2015, he cranked out 717 yards, along with an average of 7.5 yards per rush.
As a result, Boone was available to be signed by any team. The Vikings pounced, and now Boone will have a chance to translate his strength, speed, and jumping skills into the kind of performance that will make him the ideal complement to Cook and Murray.
The difference maker likely will be special teams. If he can contribute there, Boone will make himself more valuable to the Vikings. In turn, he’ll earn chances eventually to play more like he did in 2015.