EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings on Tuesday announced the re-signing of running back Matt Asiata.
Asiata led the Vikings with career highs of carries (164), rushing yards (570) and rushing touchdowns (nine) in 2014. He and rookie Jerick McKinnon shared the bulk of the load after Adrian Peterson was deactivated in Week 2. Peterson was later placed on the Commissioner's Exempt List before being suspended.
Asiata's nine rushing scores tied with Kansas City's Jamaal Charles, Green Bay's Eddie Lacy, New Orleans' Mark Ingram and Cincinnati's Jeremy Hill for third-most rushing touchdowns last season. Asiata added a receiving TD and a pair of two-point conversions for 64 total points, which was tied for 18th in the NFL and was ninth in the NFC for a non-kicker.
Touchdowns came in bunches for Asiata, but fumbles didn't. He had three rushing touchdowns in wins against Atlanta (runs of 3, 6 and 1) and Washington (1, 7 and 1), powering through holes and past defenders in short-yardage situations. His three games with three rushing TDs are the most by an undrafted player in his first three seasons since the common draft began in 1967.
Asiata's sure-handedness (lost one fumble) helped Minnesota lose fewer fumbles (two lost on the season) than any team in 2014, and Asiata showed he can handle pass protection, as well as provide a check-down option. He had 44 receptions for 312 yards and scored from 25 yards out on a screen play in Week 2.
After spending part of 2011 on the Vikings practice squad and being out of football most of that season, Asiata rejoined Minnesota in 2012 and played in all 16 games. He appeared in 11 in 2013 and 15 last season for a total of 42 career games with 10 starts.