California Sports

LA Rams secure playoff spot after activating Cam Akers against Vikings

The Los Angeles Rams activated running back Cam Akers for Sunday’s win against the Minnesota Vikings. However, it has not yet been known whether he would be able to play for the next three or four weeks.

Akers tore an Achilles tendon during the offseason. He was then placed on the reserve/non-football injury list for his second season. Considering the player’s future, the Rams made the decision to activate Akers.

Why the Rams activated the injured RB

Los Angeles is certainly anticipating having him back for a potential playoff run. The Rams, however, decided to activate Akers to allow him to lock in a year of benefit and pension credit, in which according to NFL rules, he must be on the active roster for at least three games of the season to qualify.

The Rams have played all season without the regular starting running back. He tore his Achilles in mid-July and returned to practice this week, just five months after the injury. Akers was activated from the injured reserve on Saturday. However, he did not play against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, December 26.

“If you watched him do stuff with the performance staff (Thursday), you would think he could carry the ball 40 times on Sunday,” general manager Les Snead told over the phone. “The plan is to implement him back into practice settings and make sure he can make football moves, rather than just observing. And from there, it’s how that Achilles recovers. We’ll be smart about it.”

The Rams made the playoffs as they beat the Vikings 30-23, and Snead said a talented player like Akers was a factor in determining the results of playoff times.

“That’s our vision,” Snead said. “He’s really day to day now. Based on everything he’s done now and how he’s looked, I would take that bet.”

Coach Sean McVay previously expressed doubts in October, telling The Athletic, “If we are able to make the playoffs, the expectation is that Cam would be available to play.”

McVay later said this week: “It’s not something that he’s going to be ready to go this week. It’s going to be a progressive build.”

Akers rushed for 625 yards and 4.3 yards per rush as a rookie, earning himself the position of a starter. Following his injury, the Rams had Darrell Henderson and traded for former Patriots running back Sony Michel, both of whom have held their edge better than expected.

However, Akers being in the team was significant, Snead said. He said there were times during his rehab when it appeared Akers was on track for his return. He claimed that no one was sure, but everyone acknowledged the signs.

“Each step along the way, there were moments where it was like, ‘Is this normal?’ ” Snead said. “For whatever reason, the rehab … he just worked his ass off. He really worked and he’s got some genetic gifts. All of the sudden, he was a week ahead. Then four weeks ahead. Then a month ahead. All pretty amazing.”