Today we continue with our ranking of the positions in the NFC North Division. Yesterday we did the Quarterbacks, and the Detroit Lions came in at number one; today, we break down the Running Back position in the NFC North, so who comes in at number one?
NFC North Position Rankings: Running Back
4.) Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings are at one point in time in the top half of the division thanks to having Dalvin Cook, but they released him this offseason, meaning they are heading into the 2023 season with Alexander Mattison, who is a good running back and should be fine as the starter but behind him, it’s a bit of a mess. Ty Chandler is expected to be the backup in his second season, and last season he only had six carries for 20 yards; behind him is DeWayne McBride, who the Vikings drafted 222nd overall in April’s draft.
3.) Chicago Bears
The Bears will have Khalil Herbert back, who had a solid season last year, and have added D’Onta Foreman, who is listed to be the start heading into training camp. Herbert last season carried the ball 129 times for 731 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 5.7 yards a carry, while Foreman last season had 203 carries for 914 yards and five touchdowns; he averaged 4.5 yards a carry for the Panthers.
The Bears also drafted Roschon Johnson out of the University of Texas with the 115th pick, Johnson was hidden behind Bijan Robinson at Texas, but last year, he did run the ball 93 times for 554 yards and five touchdowns, so he could be a solid option for the Bears.
2.) Detroit Lions
The Lions could have been one, but I put them at two because of Jahmyr Gibbs; he can be a solid running back, but you just don’t know what to expect yet with him being a rookie. Gibbs, who the Lions took with the 12 overall pick in April, ran the ball 151 times last season at Alabama, and he had 926 yards with seven touchdowns; he also caught 44 passes for 444 yards and three touchdowns.
David Montgomery will also be with Gibbs in the backfield now that he has signed with the Lions and will be a nice weapon in the run game as well as the passing game; last season for the Bears, he ran the ball 201 times and had 801 yards and five touchdowns, and he caught 34 passes for 316 yards and a touchdown. The question mark is who the Lions will have as the third back; they head into camp with Mohamed Ibrahim, Craig Reynolds, and Jermar Jefferson fighting it out.
1.) Green Bay Packers
The Packers and the Lions could really be 1A and 1B, but the Packers get the slight edge because of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, who together can be a problem for defenses. Jones last season ran the ball 213 times for 1,121 yards and two touchdowns while also making 59 catches for 395 yards and five touchdowns.
Dillon, who is the Packers, run through the middle back and ran the ball 186 times for 770 yards and seven touchdowns; he did also catch the ball 28 times for 206 yards. The tough question for the Packers is, who is their third back? They have Patrick Taylor, who is entering his third season, and they have Lew Nichols III, who they drafted 235th overall out of Central Michigan.
Bottom Line: NFC North's running game should be interesting in 2023
The running back position is a key component of the offense and allows teams to open up the passing game, so having a top-tier running back is key to a team's success and allows the possibility for the Quarterback to have time to throw the ball. The Detroit Lions lost Jamaal Williams and traded D’Andre Swift, so they have a brand new backfield and should be fun to watch; as the season goes on, they have a real chance to overtake the Packers for the top running back group in the division but heading into the season the Packers rank first based on Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon alone.