Vikings rookie running back Ty Chandler puts on a show in his preseason debut – Twin Cities

LAS VEGAS — For a guy ranked fourth on the depth chart at running back and third at kickoff returner, Ty Chandler sure put on a show on Sunday.

Chandler, a North Carolina Vikings rookie, carried for 50 yards five times in his preseason debut, a 26-20 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. And he returned a 56-yard kickoff in the third quarter.

“It was a wonderful opportunity,” Chandler said. “I have a lot of great teammates who push me to improve every day, so it was just about getting out there, performing and having fun. So it was just a blessing to be there.

Chandler is listed on the depth board as running back behind starter Dalvin Cook, who rested on Sunday, Alexander Mattison, who started and carried three times for eight yards, and sophomore Kene Nwangwu . Nwangwu also had a solid game, carrying seven times for 41 yards.

Nwangwu is the team’s primary kickoff returner, although he was not used in that role on Sunday. Second on the depth chart is wide receiver KJ Osborn and third is Chandler. Wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette isn’t even listed on the depth chart, but he returned the first three kickoffs on Sunday.

Then it was Chandler’s turn. In the third quarter, he took the ball to the Minnesota 3 and escaped on the outside and ran down the right side for 56 yards to the Raiders 41. This led to a 2-yard touchdown pass from Kellen Mond to Albert Wilson, which reduced the deficit to 16-13.

“Man, they loved it,” Chandler said of his teammates’ reaction to the comeback. “They were just cheering me on, man.”

At running back, Chandler showed great speed in digging holes. He had Minnesota’s two longest runs of the game, a 14-yard rush in the second quarter and a 13-yard rush in the fourth quarter.

“I think he’s pretty decisive in the running game, putting his foot down and going north to south,” Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said.

Chandler said he got a lot of help in his early days.

“A big thank you to the O line and my running room,” he said. “I mean, just preparing and pushing myself every day to get better.”

Cook and Mattison said the Vikings have the deepest running backs in the NFL. Chandler doesn’t doubt it.

“We have a lot of great guys in the running back room,” Chandler said. “I just love being in there and having the chance to learn from these guys.”

Unless there are injuries, Chandler might struggle to get too many carries during the regular season. But on Sunday, he certainly had his moments.

“He made a lot of good plays,” Mond said. “Ty had some great races. He’s one of those guys who keeps working. … He’s definitely a reliable source that we have and he’s going to keep improving, and that’s what I expect of him.

Comments are closed.