The Indianapolis Colts will have another chance to acquire 5th-year running back Ben Tate, who was released by the Minnesota Vikings today. As you may recall, the Colts previously put an unsuccessful waiver claim on Tate, who was released earlier this season by the Cleveland Browns in late November. Instead, Tate was awarded off waivers to the Minnesota Vikings. In 3 games with the Vikings, Tate rushed 13 times for just 38 rush yards (2.9 ypc).
Nov 30, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Ben Tate (33) carries the ball during the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Panthers 31-13. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
While Tate also struggled in 8 games with the Cleveland Browns this season, averaging 3.1 yards per carry on 106 carries, he is just one year removed from a 771 rushing yard season for the Houston Texans in which he averaged 4.3 yards per carry.
The 26 year old running back should still seemingly be in the prime of his career. As a former 2010 2nd round pick out of Auburn of the Houston Texans and effective platoon-mate to Arian Foster, Tate still has talent and prior proven production in his favor.
However, although acquiring Tate made some sense earlier, it doesn’t make quite as much sense now. With the final week of the regular season here, Tate would only have one regular season game left to get acclimated to the Colts’ offensive playbook and scheme. In turn, he’d have one game remaining to learn his offensive line.
In my opinion, it simply doesn’t make sense to add Tate to the Colts’ running back mix this late in the regular season because there’s simply not enough time left for him to get comfortable and make a realistic impact.
The Colts already know what they have with 3rd string running back, Zurlon Tipton, who scored his 1st career touchdown last weekend against the Dallas Cowboys. While the undrafted rookie may not be a star talent at running back by any means, he at least has had the benefit of knowing the offensive playbook and scheme, having spent the last few games and all of preseason with the Colts. The Colts can’t afford to place Tate out there and have him not have a clue of what he’s doing, as playoff games are simply too high of stakes with everything on the line.