Cam Akers flashed his promise on several occasions during his short-lived tenure with the Los Angeles Rams.
The running back was solid during his 2020 rookie campaign, piling up 748 scrimmage yards and three scores in 11 games played. He starred in the playoffs, though, with another 272 scrimmage yards and two more scores in as many games.
Akers suffered a torn Achilles in the offseason before his 2021 campaign got underway, but he’d impress by making it back in time for the playoffs. His performance during L.A.’s postseason run wasn’t remarkable (just 2.6 yards per carry), but his efforts to rehab the injury and get back for the stretch run were impressive all the same.
Akers would have another solid year in 2022, with over 900 scrimmage yards and seven scores. He proved particularly effective down the stretch, topping the century mark in three straight games to close the year. This again created some optimism heading into his fourth pro season.
But as evidenced by his recent relocation to Minnesota, that optimism didn’t last too long in Los Angeles.
Why Did the Rams Trade Cam Akers?
Trade: Rams are sending RB Cam Akers to the Minnesota Vikings for a swap of 2026 draft picks, per sources. pic.twitter.com/d79HmNT00u
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 20, 2023
While we mentioned the highs Akers experienced during his Rams career above, those aren’t the reasons the Rams sent him to the Minnesota Vikings recently for an exchange of late-round picks. While Akers put together some highlights in L.A., the 2020 second-round pick out of Florida State had his frustrating moments as well.
Akers has had his differences with Rams head coach Sean McVay in the past. The Rams were reportedly fielding trade calls on the running back in October of last year as well, per NFL.com. At the time, Akers was being held out of games for what McVay called “personal reasons.”
“I would say it’s more like we’re dealing with things internally. This is kind of unchartered territory, and I think the biggest thing is, out of respect for the situation, we want to keep it internally,” McVay said.
Of course, there may have been unreleased intel that explains the heart of the issue. But many expected that Akers was bristling over a lackluster workload. He spent much of the year sharing touches with Darrell Henderson.
Akers would ultimately rejoin the team in November, going from minimal touches to the season-ending workhorse role we referenced above. And McVay spoke about an intent to make him a focal point of the offense after that impressive stretch, as per The Washington Post.
Cam Akers last 3 games of 2022:
— Leighton Glodek (@LGlodek) September 20, 2023
“It would be silly, based on what a great job he’s done, to think of anything differently than [Akers] being a big part of what you want to do moving forward,” McVay said.
While he did have a training camp dust-up with Las Vegas Raiders’ star Maxx Crosby during a joint practice, his offseason was otherwise fairly quiet.
Akers entered this year as the starter and got a starter’s workload, toting the rock 23 times in L.A.’s season opener. But he managed just 29 yards on almost two dozen touches, a yardage rate that would require eight carries to pick up a singular first down.
Akers wound up being a healthy scratch in Week 2. Meanwhile, second-year pro Kyren Williams continued a hot start, totaling exactly 100 scrimmage yards and two scores against a tough San Francisco defense. The Rams are simultaneously confident enough in Williams and down enough on Akers to pull the trigger on a deal.
I’m just as confused as everybody else. I’m blessed though 🤷🏾♂️
— Cam akers (@thereal_cam3) September 17, 2023
Akers expressed surprise upon learning the news, but it may prove to be a good thing for his career. He’ll compete with Alexander Mattison for the lead role in Minnesota’s backfield. Mattison’s had his struggles this year in his efforts to replace Dalvin Cook. And the Vikings recognized a need for competition in the backfield.
It remains to be seen if the change of scenery will prove hurtful or helpful for Akers.