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5 Things to Know About Vikings New RB Aaron Jones


EAGAN, Minn. – Vikings Equipment Manager Mike Parson is going to have to make space in the locker room for a sombrero.

Minnesota has agreed to terms with the 29-year-old, sombrero-donning running back Aaron Jones, the team announced Tuesday, a day after Jones was released by the Packers.

Jones spent the first seven seasons of his NFL career with the Packers and first debuted a sombrero in 2019 (more on that below). Last season, he started 11 games and recorded 142 carries for 656 yards and two rushing touchdowns. He also added 30 catches for 233 yards and a touchdown through the air.

In the Packers Divisional Round loss to the 49ers, Jones became the first player in franchise history to record five consecutive 100-yard rushing games.

A fifth-round 2017 draft pick, Jones has three 1,000-yard rushing seasons under his belt: 2019 (when he also racked up 16 rushing touchdowns), 2020 and 2022.

Jones has started 85 of 97 games for the Packers and totaled 1,177 carries for 5,540 yards (5.0 average) and 45 touchdowns. He's also added 272 catches for 2,076 yards and 18 touchdowns.

View photos of RB Aaron Jones who agreed to terms with the Vikings.

He joins the Vikings in the wake of Minnesota releasing 2019 draft pick Alexander Mattison. Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu, Myles Gaskin and 2023 draft pick DeWayne McBride are the team's other running backs. They are joined by fullback C.J. Ham.

Here are five things to know about Jones:

1. Former Miner

Jones stood out during his collegiate career at UTEP, where his 4,760 career all-purpose yards and 136.0 per-game average both rank second all-time. As a senior, Jones returned from an ankle injury suffered the previous season; in his first game back, he recorded 249 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in a win over New Mexico State.

Jones finished his senior season for the Miners with 1,773 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground, as well as 28 catches for 233 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He also recorded a 3-yard passing touchdown in a UTEP loss to Old Dominion in 2016.

2. Military family

Jones' parents, Vurgess and Alvin Jones, Sr., were both non-commissioned officers in the United State Army. Jones and his three siblings – his twin brother Alvin Jr., sister Chelsirae and half brother Xavier – moved around often, living in Germany, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and Texas.

3. Homage to El Paso

Jones considers El Paso, Texas, where he attended Burges High School, his hometown.

He became known in Green Bay for honoring El Paso by wearing a sombrero decorated in Packer colors when arriving for game days – as well as sometimes on the sidelines and in postgame interviews.

It all started as a dare by his girlfriend to wear a sombrero to the Packers game at Dallas on Oct. 6. 2019. Jones obliged, purchasing a black-and-white one from a party supplies store and wore it into the locker room before the game in which Jones scored four rushing touchdowns, becoming the first Packers player with four rushing touchdowns in a game since Dorsey Levens on Jan. 2, 2000.

Soon after, Packers superfan Marcos Flores, a.k.a. Señor Cheesehead, connected with Jones and gifted him a green-and-gold version for the Oct. 29 game against the Chiefs – during which Jones had seven catches for a career-high 159 receiving yards.

Jones also gives a nod to El Paso during his signature touchdown celebration, during which he holds up nine, one and five fingers – in homage to the city's 915 area code – before flexing.

In 2022, Jones was presented with El Paso's Key to the City award.

4. Honors memory of late father

Jones also honors his father, who tragically passed away in April 2021 due to COVID-19. In a tribute posted on Instagram following his death, Jones noted that his father hadn't missed a game day in nine years.

"I know you have the best seat in the stadium and you're forever engraved in me," Jones wrote. "I'll carry our Name high and be great like you've pushed me all my life! I could write a book and go on and on, but Now it's time to Be a Man and hold it down. I got you, Poppa."

Jones wears a chain with a diamond that was formed using some of his father's ashes.

5. Impact maker

Wherever he goes, Jones gives back and makes a difference.

He was a two-time nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award by the Packers, in recognition of his consistent work in the community. Jones and his twin brother have their own foundation, A&A All the Way. The nonprofit serves youth in many ways but has a special focus on military families who are deployed.

Jones also was a three-time nominee for the NFL's Salute to Service Award, including being a finalist this past season, and a three-time nominee for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.