Packers fans have been quipping that the running back is the most fungible position in the NFL; I’ve said it, my colleagues here on the blog have said it and tons of you have said it in your comments (yes we do read your comments). Â In truth, it’s an easy thing for Packers fans to say simply because the Packers aren’t the type of team that revolves around running the ball; with Mike McCarthy at the helm, Aaron Rodgers behind center and Ted Thompson on top of the front office, the Packer’s have been a pass-first, pass-second, run as an afterthought type of franchise.
On the flip side, ask any Minnesota Vikings fans what they think about the running game and I’m sure you’ll get a completely different response. Â Outside of a miraculous 2009 season, there hasn’t been much for Vikings fans to hang their hat on; sure the defense has been occasionally goodÂ but their football identity is running the ball with Adrian Peterson. Â However Peterson is a once in a generation type of player and the simple fact is that running backs are not very valuable in the NFL; they’re production has plateaued lower than their receiving counterparts, the massive toll playing the position takes on their body and future production and the shift from the workhorse back to the running back by committee approach means you don’t need to find a running back that can do it all. Â As a result, less and less running backs are being drafted, especially in the first round.
Packer’s fans might just have to start rethinking about the value of the running back position as the Packers might have a real star on their roster with Eddie Lacy in green and gold. Â While Lacy was a godsend for the Packers last year and was essentially the offense while Aaron Rodgers recovered from his broken clavicle, Lacy was paid a mere $405,000 for perhaps the best season a running back has had since Ahman Green in his heyday. Keep in mind this is after winning rookie of the year honors; when Charles Woodson won defensive player of the year honors in 2010, the Packers responded by giving him a huge increase in pay even though he still had plenty of years left on his contract.