Fason Closer Than He Appears

The Vikings used a fourth-round pick for the third straight year to haul in a running back. While Ciatrick Fason may be No. 5 on the depth chart now, he could make a big jump in a hurry.

When the Vikings took Onterrio Smith and Mewelde Moore in the previous two drafts, some people wondered why. Viking fans found out last year, as both were asked to carry the mail as the Vikings go-to running back in a pinch.

So it really should have come as no surprise when the Vikings drafted Ciatrick Fason last week. While coach Mike Tice has put no expectations on Fason to start, he could quickly make his way up the depth chart -- faster than most might imagine.

One of the first things both Mike Tice and Scott Studwell said about Fason is that he is a younger, faster version of Moe Williams. While Moe is loved by his coaches and teammates, he is getting older and doesn't have a lot of tread left on the tire. One down.

After this season, current starter Michael Bennett is going to be an unrestricted free agent. Given his injury history, the Vikings will likely let him test free agency -- much in the same way they did with Robert Smith when he first became a UFA. Two down.

Like or not, Smith is one bump of marijuana away from being suspended for a year. If that happens, the Vikings might well divorce themselves of him. Three down.

As good as Moore looked in his brief stint as a starter, there is a belief among some of the coaching staff that he can't handle full-time starter duty -- something no running back wants associated next to his name. Four down.

As minicamp begins today, Fason is fifth on the depth chart at RB. A year from now, he could realistically be No. 1>

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