The LA Rams activated running back Cam Akers from the designated for return injured reserve list on Thursday. The team will monitor his progress in the coming weeks to see if he will be ready for a return to the field this season and he won’t be expected to suit up against the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday.
Around the NFL’s Nick Shook noted that he must be put on the 53-man roster by the end of the season or he will be placed back on IR and out for the postseason:
The news came as a significant surprise, primarily because the running back had suffered an Achilles tear in July and was removed from the general football consciousness. Los Angeles was forced to find a replacement, acquiring Sony Michel via trade and turning to the likes of Darrell Henderson to fill the backfield void while moving forward without the promising Akers.
Akers was essentially ruled out for 2021 back in July, but now he has an opportunity to find his way back on the active roster before the postseason (the Rams currently hold the No. 5 seed in the NFC). He has three weeks from the time of designation to be activated for play.
A second round pick out of Florida State in 2020, Akers had 145 carries for 625 yards and 11 catches for 123 yards as LA’s best running back last season. He was slated for an even larger role this season but didn’t make it to training camp before tearing his Achilles. The rumor mill during the season indicated that Akers might actually be able to return in time for the playoffs and this is the first step in seeing that happen.
It wouldn’t hurt to have him available should the Rams make the postseason and they can clinch their wild card spot with a win over the Vikings on Sunday.
As LA fans are well aware from the 2018 playoffs with Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson, teams often must reach deep into the well for running back support in January and February. The Rams have already seen Darrell Henderson miss three games after having placed Akers, Jake Funk, and Raymond Calais all on injured reserve this season. Sony Michel has emerged in the last three weeks with 62 carries for 292 yards and five catches for 31 yards, but Akers would be a complement to Michel and Henderson that gives the Rams’ backfield more diversity and talent than most.
If Akers is fully healed by the end of the season, the only reason to hold him out moving forward would be superstition. It’s looking a little more likely now that it will happen.