Vikings’ rookie Boone impresses as running back competition heats up

MINNEAPOLIS — Last week, undrafted Minnesota Vikings rookie Roc Thomas was the talk of the town on the heels an electrifying performance against the Denver Broncos. He finished with 131 yards from scrimmage and a pair of touchdowns, doing most of his damage on a screen pass that he took 78 yards to paydirt.

This week, undrafted rookie Mike Boone stole the spotlight.

While the Vikings were extremely flat in a 14-10 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday afternoon, Aug. 18, at U.S. Bank Stadium, the 23-year-old Boone stood out as the lone bright spot. He carried 13 times for 91 yards and a touchdown, essentially pulling even with 22-year-old Thomas in the battle for the third running back spot.

“I’ve got to give all the credit to the offensive line,” Boone said. “Those guys open holes, and I just do what I’m coached to do.”

Truthfully, Boone is being humble because he did a lot of the work on his own, rattling off a handful of impressive runs throughout the contest. He also showed the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, and even picked up a blitz late in the game with a thunderous hit that could be heard from the press box.

“He’s a great player,” quarterback Kirk Cousins said. “Anytime a guy puts this many good things on tape in preseason games, it’s not really a matter of if he’ll be in the league, it’s a matter of where.”

Boone admitted he was motivated by watching Thomas last week against the Broncos, though it wasn’t his main focus entering the game against the Jaguars.

“We come here to compete and make plays,” Boone said. “That’s the goal every game. Not just because Roc did good last week or something like that. I’m trying to come every game and put my best foot forward.”

Boone certainly did that and will need to continue to do that the rest of the preseason. With games against the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans still left on the schedule, it’s likely the battle between Boone and Thomas will go down to the wire.

“Unfortunately we didn’t win,” Boone said after the loss, downplaying his personal success. “That’s always the end goal. We have to come back next week and work harder.”