After the Seahawks cut Christine Michael on Tuesday, the Vikings put in a waiver claim on the running back, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link). The Vikings (5-4) were behind the NFC North rival Packers (4-5) in the waiver order, however, so Michael landed with Green Bay on Wednesday.
Michael would have been a worthwhile pickup for free-falling Minnesota, which has lost four straight after looking like an early title contender during the season’s first five weeks. One of the Vikings’ biggest issues has been their inability to run the ball, as no one has stepped up since Adrian Peterson suffered a torn meniscus in Week 2 against the Packers.
The Vikings’ two most prominent reserves, Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata, have combined for a paltry 3.0 yards per carry on 161 attempts. In-season signing Ronnie Hillman has been even worse, albeit over a smaller sample of carries, with a 2.6 YPC on 16 tries. All told, the Vikes are last in the NFL in both rushing yards (628) and YPC (2.7).
In Green Bay, Michael will make the remainder of his $675K base salary – $277,941 – if he stays on the roster through season’s end, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Notably, Michael went one pick behind fellow Green Bay back Eddie Lacy in the 2013 draft (61st versus 62nd), and it was Lacy’s ankle injury that helped open the door for Michael to join the Packers. Lacy has been on IR for nearly a month, and he won’t be eligible to return until Week 15.
Michael’s contract also includes yardage incentives, and if he provides the Packers’ offense a jolt and ultimately secures that money, it could have a notable effect on a tight NFC North battle led by the first-place Lions. Expecting Michael to make a significant impact is likely unrealistic, though, as the Seahawks parted with the 26-year-old thanks to consistency issues, per Jayson Jenks of the Seattle Times.
After beginning the season in red-hot fashion (45 carries, 232 yards, two touchdowns in the first three weeks), Michael rushed 72 times for a meager 237 yards over his final six games as a Seahawk. He picked up just 10 combined carries in the previous two weeks, with Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable pointing out that Michael has experienced problems reading plays. Nevertheless, he’s superior to the Packers’ healthy options and would have been an upgrade over Peterson-less Minnesota’s contingent of struggling backfield choices.
Zach Links contributed to this report. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.