Rookie Alexander Mattison has had a solid showing as the Viking second option out of the backfield this season. Through 14 games, Mattison has 462 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, and picks us a first down on 19% of his rushes. However, Mattison may not be available for the Vikings game Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers as he has yet to practice this week with a knee injury.
If Mattison isn’t available this Sunday, it’s likely that Mike Boone will be the back to spell Dalvin Cook. Cook is still only one week removed from having to leave a game due to a chest injury. He also saw his two lowest snap percentages in the Vikings last two games, 44% and 47% respectively. With Cook being limited, backups will likely see more use than normal.
Boone is in his second year with the Vikings after signing as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Cincinnati. Boone has been very effective in preseason with the team, but has yet to get much of an opportunity to show what he can do in a regular season game. In two years, Boone has carried the ball 19 times for 88 yards, and has a long run of 24 yards.
Of course being stuck behind one of the best backs in the NFL and a good spell back two years running will limit opportunities. It’s also good to note that until the firing of John DeFillipo last season, the Vikings were very pass heavy. Current Vikings Offensive coordinator Kevin Stafanski expressed confidence in Boone, stating “If he’s called upon this week, I think he’ll be ready.” Stefanski also said, “perhaps no player has come as far as he has.”
Boone certainly seems to have kept working hard, and stayed out of trouble, while waiting for his opportunity, and might see that payoff this weekend. He will likely split time with Ameer Abdullah, however Abdullah generally sees more use as a receiving and scat back while Boone is more of a traditional runner like Cook and Mattison.