The Los Angeles Rams traded away running back Cam Akers to the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday for a swap of late-round picks in 2026. Now, the big question is, how did we even get to this point? Akers was a player with so much promise and potential and was essentially traded away for nothing.
The former second-round pick looked to be off to a good start to his career in 2020. His performance against the New England Patriots seemed to give him the confidence boost that he needed. Akers took that into the playoffs where he led the Rams to a win on the road against the Seahawks. The Rams rode Akers in that game as Jared Goff had a broken thumb and John Wolford got hurt early in the game.
Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. Akers had the achilles injury the following offseason, but managed to return for the playoff run, despite being ineffective. Head coach Sean McVay benched Akers the following year after a slow start and the team attempted to trade him. However, the two sides seemed to settle their difference and the Rams running back ended the year on three consecutive 100-yard games.
This season, Akers averaged just 1.63 yards per carry against the Seahawks and was once again benched. The Athletic’s Dianna Russini shed some light on the situation, saying that Akers wasn't a “personality fit”. Here’s what she had to say.
“I was told that Sean had a conversation with him on the field after practice on Friday and let him know that his fit with this team doesn’t work and he doesn’t fit. The personality in the locker room isn’t in sync with what they expect from their players...I just don’t think this has worked well from a personality standpoint mixing with what McVay wants to do and what he expects from these players. This is a team that I don’t believe thought they were going to have the success that they’ve had already...Now they see that they got something good. They’ve got potential here. There’s no reason to hold on to warts that could create problems later on in the season.”
Yesterday @DMRussini shed some light on the Cam Akers situation. Why wasn't it a fit with the Rams?— Blaine Grisak (@bgrisakTST) September 21, 2023
"The personality in the locker room isn't in sync with what they expect from their players."
Goes back to McVay looking for the right guys. "What we're looking for in a Ram". pic.twitter.com/dw53uPmTtW
There are a few ways that you can look at this report from Russini. The first is that, the Rams are in a transition year and actively looking for players that they can build around when they are ready to compete in 2024 and especially 2025. Over the last week, McVay has utilized the phrases “He’s the epitome of what we want to be as Rams” and “He’s checking all the boxes for what we’re looking for in a Ram” when talking about Puka Nacua and Ernest Jones.
With that in mind, McVay is looking for players that are going to help set the culture tone for the next phase of the team-build. If Akers wasn’t a part of the long-term vision, there was no need to continue to try to fit a square peg in a round hole.
The 2023 season is almost like an active tryout for these players as the Rams are looking for guys that they can move forward with over the next few years.
This isn’t to say that Akers was an issue in the locker room, but simply that he didn’t fit with the team identity and the culture that the Rams are building towards.
Now, Akers will head to Minnesota to play for the Vikings where there is some familiarity with Kevin O’Connell and Wes Phillips. It’s also a scheme that he’ll have some familiarity with and a backfield with some opportunity as Alexander Mattison has been relatively ineffective.
At the same time, the Rams will get to move forward with Kyren Williams, a player that they are extremely excited about in the offense. Williams has four touchdowns in two games and had 100 yards from scrimmage against the San Francisco 49ers.
It was best at this point for the two sides to go in different directions. Both sides will now look towards the future as they part ways.