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44 Matt Asiata RB
Height/Weight: 6-0/234 | Birthdate: 7/24/1987 | Birthplace: Garden Grove, CA, USA | Team: Minnesota | College: Utah | NFL Experience: 3 | Owned/Started%: 80/61 | Average Draft Position: 151.00
MIN

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Jerick McKinnon shows more upside than Matt Asiata Sunday


by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/30/2014) If you just look at the raw snap counts for Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon in Week 4 against the Falcons, you might come away thinking Asiata was the workhorse and McKinnon is a change of pace back. After all, Asiata was on the field for 58 percent of the team's offensive plays, while McKinnon played the understudy role, with 42 percent of the work.

However, the numbers are a bit skewed by the first two drives, when Asiata played 13 consecutive snaps to open the game. It seemed like Asiata was in line for a huge workload Sunday, but McKinnon appears to have forced a change in the game plan. McKinnon opened the third drive with a 55-yard run, and the workload changed from that point on.

The Vikings played 63 offensive snaps from the start of the third drive, and McKinnon played 32 of them, with Asiata taking on 31. McKinnon touched the ball on 59.4 percent of his snaps as well, while Asiata touched the ball on just 48.4 percent of his snaps from that point on -- after getting eight touches on his first 13 plays.

Asiata seems likely to continue working as the primary ball carrier for the Vikings, but he just has not been particularly impressive, even accounting for his three-touchdown showing Sunday. McKinnon is less of a sure thing in this backfield given his workload, but he seems to have a much higher upside; even if you remove his 55-yard scamper, he averaged 4.7 yards per carry to Asiata's 3.9.

If you have to own one player in Minnesota, it should be Asiata. He is the starter, and it seems like the team is going to keep going back to him. However, McKinnon is the lottery ticket here. The Georgia Southern product has the higher upside in this backfield, and he might keep forcing the Vikings to change their plans moving forward. 

At the Fantasy Football Today blog, I snagged video from the game Sunday to compare how McKinnon and Asiata played. 


Vikings to keep using committee at running back


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/30/2014) Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he'll keep using running backs Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon as a committee, with McKinnon as the "change-of-pace back," reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

"I hope we can continue to grow his role, but I don't think he's going to be an every-down player right now," Zimmer said of McKinnon, who exploded for 135 rushing yards on 18 carries Sunday.

Asiata will continue to start after running for 78 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries.


Matt Asiata has company in Jerick McKinnon


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9/28/2014) It was a strange afternoon for the Vikings' Matt Asiata Week 4 against Atlanta. While on the one hand, he had a career-best performance, scoring three times on runs of 1, 3 and 6 yards, he was only the Vikings second-leading rusher on the day, outperformed by rookie Jerick McKinnon.

Granted, Asiata's rushing was a drastic improvement from his previous two games, when he averaged 2.8 yards per carry. The Vikings saw fit to give him 20 carries, and he gained 78 yards with them. But while Asiata's longest run was 12 yards, McKinnon broke free for 55 yards early in the second quarter en route to 135.  He nearly had a touchdown of his own just before halftime, but it was overturned by an official review.

McKinnon was clearly the more explosive of the two backs and probably earned a larger share of the workload as a result. And if Asiata goes back to doing what he had been doing against defenses better equipped to stop him, I could see McKinnon overtaking him outright.

For now, Asiata remains the better choice for Week 5 at Green Bay, but you'll want to handcuff him in Fantasy.


Matt Asiata becomes acquainted with the end zone Week 4


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9/28/2014) Vikings running back Matt Asiata made a couple trips to the end zone Week 4.

Asiata led the team with 20 carries, though he was overshadowed in yardage by rookie Jerick McKinnon. Asiata made his carries count, though, plunging in three scores during the contest. Asiata was truly a short-yardage battering ram, scoring from 1, 3 and 6 yards. He also hauled in three passes for 22 yards. 

Asiata will take on the Packers Week 5. 


Falcons' troubles could spell good things for Vikings backs


by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/24/2014) Neither Matt Asiata nor Jerick McKinnon has taken advantage of their increased playing time since the opportunity presented itself for the Vikings, but Week 4 against the Falcons might be their best chance yet.

Asiata and McKinnon were targeted a combined nine times in Week 3 once Teddy Bridgewater took over under center, and that could work out well against the Falcons. Only two teams have allowed more receiving yards to running backs through three games than the Falcons, who have been diced for 224 yards on 23 receptions out of the backfield.

Asiata is likely to see the majority of the work yet again this week, and is the better Fantasy option of the two. His underwhelming numbers might make you want to stay away, but the Falcons have surrendered 25.7 Fantasy points per game to opposing running backs so far, the third-highest total in the league.

Asiata should be considered a decent starting option for Week 4, perhaps as a No. 2 Fantasy running back. McKinnon makes for a much less glamorous option, and should be looked at only as a desperation play in PPR leagues. 


Who was Teddy Bridgewater throwing to?


by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/22/2014) Teddy Bridgewater did not elicit as much excitement coming out of college as his fellow draft peers, and his NFL debut Sunday against the Saints reflected that. While Blake Bortles was tossing two touchdowns -- and two interceptions -- and Johnny Manziel was being used as a wide receiver on trick plays, Bridgewater came in did a solid, unspectacular job for the Vikings after Matt Cassel's injury Sunday.

Bridgewater put together a professional performance, though he didn't give the team enough to mount a comeback in the 20-9 loss. He completed 12 of 20 passes for 150 yards and added 27 on six carries, without recording a touchdown or turnover.

Bridgewater was not asked to do much, but he has plenty of weapons in this Minnesota offense, so that should change moving forward as he gets more comfortable. He targeted six players Sunday, and a breakdown of that could give Fantasy owners an idea of how he might spread the ball around moving forward:

Greg Jennings: six targets, four receptions; Cordarrelle Patterson: three targets, three receptions; Jerick McKinnon: five targets, two receptions; Matt Asiata: four targets, two receptions; Kyle Rudolph: one target, one reception; Rhett Ellison: one target, no receptions


Matt Asiata's one big play as receiver


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9/21/2014) Vikings running back Matt Asiata, making his second start in place of Adrian Peterson, didn't do anything show-stopping Week 3 at New Orleans. His one big play was a 41-yard reception in the second quarter, but he netted minus-5 yards on his other two catches. He was the Vikings second-most targeted receiver with six looks.

As a rusher, he never gained more than 8 yards, though he had just 12 carries total, still twice as many as any other Viking. He ran for 35 yards in all.

Asiata's opportunities were limited in the second half, when the Vikings had only three possessions. They were forced to throw mostly on the third one, trailing by multiple scores.

The Vikings host the Falcons in Week 4.


Matt Asiata slows down after fast start


by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9/14/2014) Making the start at running back for the Vikings on Sunday, running back Matt Asiata totaled 30 yards on the first drive of the game and scored on a 25-yard catch-and-run against the Patriots. After that he totaled 54 yards over the rest of Week 2 and finished with 36 yards on 13 carries (a 2.8 rushing average) and 48 yards on five catches. 

Asiata should remain the Vikings' running back when they play at New Orleans in Week 3. 


Matt Asiata, Jerick McKinnon to see more reps Sunday


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9/12/2014) Vikings running back Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon will receive the bulk of the reps Week 2 against the Patriots.

The Vikings have deactivated Adrian Peterson after details of an indictment for child abuse surfaced Friday. Asiata is expected to start Week 2. McKinnon is expected to serve as his backup. 


Vikings could draft a running back


by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(5/5/2014) The Vikings could draft a running back in the NFL Draft to help take the load off Adrian Peterson, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The report says the team is looking for a replacement for the departed Toby Gerhart and give Peterson a rest from time to time.

"He's getting to the point where you don't have to give him the ball 50 times a game for 16 games," said general manager Rick Spielman. "Adrian's the face of our franchise, but Norv (Turner) has a history of having two backs to keep him fresh, because I think it's very important as you go through the season that they're still strong in Week 16 and they're still strong when you get into the playoffs."

Minnesota doesn't have a surefire No. 2 back on the roster. Matt Asiata filled in for the injured Peterson and Gerhart in two games last December and performed admirably with 166 yards on 44 carries (a 3.8 average). But Asiata, entering his third season, is still raw.

After that, Minnesota has just Joe Banyard and Bradley Randle on the roster. They've mostly been practice squad players.


Vikings re-sign Matt Asiata


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3/5/2014) The Vikings re-signed running back Matt Asiata, an exclusive rights free agent, to a one-year, $570,000 contract. Asiata could back up Adrian Peterson if Toby Gerhart leaves via free agency.

Matt Asiata has nice day on the ground


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/29/2013) Vikings running back Matt Asiata had a big game on the ground Week 17.

Asiata only had 14 carries, but managed to pick up 115 yards. He averaged 8.2 yards per carry. He was not a major force at the goal line this time around, as the team chose to try and get the ball in Cordarrelle Patterson's hands when they got close. Asiata also caught two passes for -2 yards. 


Matt Asiata ready to go Week 17


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/29/2013) Vikings running back Matt Asiata is active Week 17.

Asiata should see the bulk of the carries with Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart out. Asiata is dealing with an ankle injury, but was able to get through full practice Friday.


Matt Asiata probable Week 17


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/27/2013) Vikings running back Matt Asiata is probable Week 17.

Asiata is dealing with an ankle injury, but was able to fully participate in practice Friday. Adrian Peterson is doubtful and Toby Gerhart is out, so Asiata could see a big chunk of the workload Week 17.


No carries for Toby Gerhart, Matt Asiata


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12/22/2013) Though Vikings starting running back Adrian Peterson is still working his way back from foot and groin injuries that sidelined him in Week 15, neither Toby Gerhart nor Matt Asiata got a single carry Week 16 at Cincinnati.

Gerhart is considered Peterson's backup, but he was also inactive for Week 15 because of a hamstring injury. Asiata filled in for both in Week 15 and scored three touchdowns, but he averaged just 1.7 yards on 30 carries.

Gerthart is the more likely of the two to contribute going forward, but both look like bench players heading into Week 17 against the Lions.


Matt Asiata not the only one active


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12/22/2013) Vikings running back Matt Asiata, who scored three touchdowns with Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart inactive last week, is active for Week 16 at Cincinnati despite an ankle injury that limited his practice time leading up to the game. He figures to play a minimal role, though, with Peterson and Gerhart also active.

Matt Asiata questionable Week 16


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/20/2013) Vikings running back Matt Asiata is questionable Week 16 against the Bengals.

Asiata is coming off a strong Week 15 performance in which he scored three rushing touchdowns. He tweaked his ankle during the game, and was unable to practice Wednesday and Thursday. Asiata put in a limited practice Friday.


Not the week for Toby Gerhart or Matt Asiata


by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12/18/2013) With starting running back Adrian Peterson (foot) and backup running back Toby Gerhart (hamstring) both sidelined by injuries Week 15 against Philadelphia, Matt Asiata carried the load for the Vikings and made a surprising contribution in Fantasy, rushing for three touchdowns.

But come practice time Wednesday, he was the one on the sidelines with an ankle injury while Peterson and Gerhart both saw the field.

A Peterson return appears to be the most likely scenario for Week 16 at Cincinnati, so whichever of Gerhart and Asiata is active would simply be filling the backup role, with Gerhart getting priority. And if Peterson doesn't end up playing, you probably wouldn't want to start either, given the matchup. The Bengals rank fifth against the run, giving up 98.7 yards and 3.9 yards per carry, and have surrendered the fourth-fewest Fantasy points to running backs this season. The last time they allowed even 70 rushing yards to a player was in Week 9.

If you feel the need to handcuff Peterson, Gerhart is still the way to go. Despite the touchdowns, Asiata averaged just 1.7 yards per carry last week. If that's the best he could do against the Eagles, he doesn't stand a chance with this matchup.


Matt Asiata scores three times in first start


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/15/2013) Vikings running back Matt Asiata scored three touchdowns in his first start Week 15.

Asiata was more a victim of good circumstance than strong running. He only averaged 1.7 yards per carry, but managed to do all his dirty work at the goal line. Asiata scored on two 1 yards runs and a 5 yard run. He received a huge workload, carrying the ball 30 times for 51 yards. Asiata also had three receptions for 15 yards. If Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart are out again next week, Asiata will look to continue his success in the red zone against the Bengals.


Report: Vikings likely to be without Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart


by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12/15/2013) Early Sunday morning K-TWIN radio's Sean Jensen, a former Vikings beat writer with the St. Paul Pioneer Press, posted on Twitter that the team was informed that both Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart were ruled out for their Week 15 game vs. the Eagles.

Peterson and Gerhart are both currently listed as questionable, Peterson with a foot sprain and Gerhart with a hamstring injury. Both were limited in practice Friday after not practicing on Wednesday or Thursday. Matt Asiata is the Vikings third-string running back and presumed starter if both AP and Gerhart are out.

The team had no official announcement but did call up Joe Banyard from the practice squad. When teams call up a player the day before a game it's typically to have a player in place in the event of a starter being inactive.

CBSSports.com will have the latest on this situation later Sunday morning at 11 a.m. ET on Fantasy Football Today


Nine injured Minnesota players active Week 14


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12/8/2013) Vikings linebacker Larry Dean (knee), safety Jamarca Sanford (ankle), defensive end Jared Allen (finger), running back Matt Asiata (shoulder), defensive tackle Fred Evans (knee), defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (illness), linebacker Chad Greenway (wrist), defensive Everson Griffen (toe) and safety Andrew Sendejo (toe) were all cleared to play Week 14 at Baltimore. Dean and Sanford were the only two players not listed as probable.

Seven Vikings ready to go


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/6/2013) Vikings DE Jared Allen, RB Matt Asiata, DT Fred Evans, DT Sharrif Floyd, LB Chad Greenway, DE Everson Griffen and S Andrew Sendejo are probable Week 14 against the Ravens.

Allen has been limited by a finger injury, but was able to get through a full practice Friday. The other six players were also full participants in practice Friday.


Eight injured Vikings players cleared to play Week 13


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12/1/2013) Vikings running back Matt Asiata (shoulder), defensive tackle Fred Evans, linebacker Chad Greenway (wrist), cornerback Xavier Rhodes (concussion), defensive end Brian Robison (illness), safety Andrew Sendejo (foot), wide receiver Joe Webb (concussion) and defensive tackle Kevin Williams (quadricep) were all cleared to play Week 13 vs. Chicago.

Vikings role player injuries not a concern


by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11/29/2013) Vikings running back Matt Asiata (shoulder) and quarterback Joe Webb (concussion) are both probable for Week 13 against the Bears, after getting through the week in practice. 

Nine Vikings players cleared to play Week 12


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11/24/2013) Vikings defensive end Jared Allen (back), running back Matt Asiata (shoulder), tight end Rhett Ellison (ankle), defensive tackle Fred Evans (knee, shoulder), linebacker Chad Greenway (wrist), defensive tackle Letroy Guion (chest), linebacker Michael Mauti (knee), defensive end Brian Robison (neck) and center John Sullivan (concussion) were all cleared to play Week 12 at Green Bay. Everyone was listed as probable except Mauti, Robison and Sullivan, who were questionable.