Alexander Mattison lived in the shadow of star running back Dalvin Cook for the first four years of his career. With Cook gone, he now has the opportunity to be the starter for the first time in his professional career, and not just mop-up duties when the four-time Pro Bowler is injured or needs a breather.
Alexander Mattison reveals why he re-signed with the Vikings
That chance to be the favorite was a big reason why Mattison returned to the Vikings after his contract expired, and he had full control of choosing his next team. running backs talked about it yahoo fantasy football podcast, He was asked if he “had a feeling Dalvin would no longer be with the team” and what the “biggest draw” was in re-signing in Minnesota.
He gave me the highest respect. As far as bringing me back, they interested me the most and with that in mind, I wasn’t signing to come back and be a backup. Going into it, we knew what it was and understood the situation and all the details that were going to come up later and were part of the business of being in the NFL. But yeah, at the time of signing that contract, I knew it.
Interest and opportunity both played a significant role in his decision to return.
Mattison signed a lucrative contract, with most of it guaranteed, to earn $7 million over the next two seasons – a huge contract in today’s running market, considering his status as a backup for four seasons.
This was the first sign of Cook’s eventual departure. The star running back was released more than two months later and is trying to find a team willing to pay big bucks to be an RB in a bad economy.
Minnesota’s decision makers and his teammates have always praised Mattison as a great player in the locker room. When he was asked to play the role of a cook, he was very convincing.
The former Boise State halfback has started six games in his career. Whenever Cook missed time, he was the next man up. In those six games, Mattison fired for nearly 700 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns, showing his potential as a bell-cow and satisfying the Vikings and fantasy football players alike.
Mattison faces competition in training camp, though head coach Kevin O’Connell said the competition for backup roles will be behind Mattison. However, someone who made a splash in training camp can never be ruled out, especially considering the talent that is on the roster.
Kene Nwangwu has shown tremendous talent as a kick returner, but he hasn’t been able to display those skills on the offensive end. Fans will be interested to see if his speed and explosiveness can translate into the running back position.
2022 draft pick Ty Chandler also has great explosiveness and shone in last year’s preseason but barely played in his first season due to a thumb injury, and two established backs Cook and Mattison got the most snaps when he was healthy.
The final player in the mix is rookie Deven McBride who had an extremely productive college career. He’s the big wild card and may surprise some people as he’s already drawn comparisons to Isiah Pacheco, last year’s seventh-round pick who came out of nowhere and helped the Chiefs to their Super Bowl run.
For now, it should be assumed that Mattison is the new RB1, replacing Cook and his predecessor, Adrian Peterson. In 59 games with the Vikings, Mattison rushed for 1,670 yards and 11 TDs. He turned 25 in June.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who loves numbers and statistics. The Vikings became his favorite team at the time, despite quarterback Christian Ponder. He is a walking football encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms and classic rock is his musical genre of choice. If you like Vikings, follow them on Twitter: @JanikEckardt