Vikings running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu invited former Vikings running back Chuck Foreman to speak to the team’s backs over dinner this week.
Foreman, a first-round pick of the Vikings in 1973, played eight NFL seasons and made five Pro Bowls. He ended his career with 5,950 rushing yards and 53 rushing touchdowns.
Foreman reminded the team’s current running backs that it’s a “short-term gig” and relayed advice he got from Hall of Famer Jim Brown.
“He said one thing a running back has to know is when to go down,’’ Foreman said, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “And that’s not to quit. But when you can’t go any further, you got to go down and come back another play. When it’s third-and-one, that’s different. But when you’re out the field and you got 10 guys coming at you, it’s time to go down.”
The Vikings have a talented group of backs with Dalvin Cook, Ameer Abdullah, third-round pick Alexander Mattison, Mike Boone and Roc Thomas. C.J. Ham and Khari Blasingame are competing for the fullback job.
“This might be the best group of running backs from top to bottom that the Vikings ever have had in my opinion,’’ Foreman said. “I don’t know who they’re going to keep, but what I do know is all of them are NFL material.’’
Cook tore an ACL in the fourth game of his rookie season and missed five games last year with hamstring issues. Foreman had a frank talk with the former second-round choice.
“I said [to Cook], ‘Man, it’s time for you to go the whole next level,’’’ Foreman said. “I asked him if he was ready for that and he said, ‘Yeah, I’ve been ready. It’s just that I’ve had some bad breaks.’’’