Purple Rumor Mill: Mattison’s Role, Jefferson as OPOY, Cousins’ Odd Dynamic

Purple Rumor Mill: Mattison's Role, Jefferson as OPOY, Cousins' Odd Dynamic
Jul 27, 2022; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) looks on at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Purple Rumor Mill

VikingsTerritory’s Purple Rumor Mill is a two-day chronicle each week. All the week’s rumors are lassoed and plopped in two spots — articles on Saturday and Sunday — for review. Today is the October 9th edition.

Remember — rumors are rumors. What you read on weekends in these pieces is what the world is talking about pertaining to the Vikings, not necessarily items that will come to fruition.

Rumor: Alexander Mattison is morphing into an RB1.

The Vikings 2021 Offense by the Numbers: After Week 1
Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Let’s face it. Mattison has entered the prime of his career. He’s 24. In that vein, it should be no surprise that he looks better than ever.

Still, Mattison is averaging just 3.8 yards per rush in 2022, so it’s not quite like he’s Barry Sanders. The Boise State alumnus does, though, look like an “equal” to teammate Dalvin Cook for the first time, probably because — you guessed it — Cook is getting older and was injured in Week 3.

The Vikings will showcase a dual backfield more than ever before (well, since Cook arrived in 2017) because that’s what Kevin O’Connell [and Sean McVay] offenses do. Minnesota is “getting with the times.”

And if the strategy works — who really cares?

Rumor: Justin Jefferson is the league’s frontrunner to win Offensive Player of the Year.

Vikings Now Have Frontrunners to Win 2 Awards
Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Indeed, Jefferson has +700 odds through four games to win the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year award. That’s tied with Lamar Jackson and Cooper Kupp for the league’s frontrunner.

Jefferson is on pace for 1,670 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns, which assuredly sounds like an OPOY statline. But the young wideout must maintain the pace, even when defenses hurl double coverage in his face. Jefferson is beginning to receive Calvin Johnson treatment on Sundays, a tendency showcasing the utmost respect but also irking the playmaker.

Long story short: Jefferson winning OPOY is a genuine possibility. Vegas agrees.

Rumor: Kirk Cousins isn’t putting up monster numbers, but his team is winning. The man cannot do both.

Kirk Cousins Is Really Starting to Let His Hair Down
Kirk Cousins wearing Christian Darrisaw’s chain.

Of course this would be a talking point, huh?

But there’s context here. Cousins experiences a new offensive coordinator nearly every season. Accordingly, he takes about a month to get cooking. The Vikings just so happen to be at that point in the regular season when Cousins begins to hit his stride. For better or worse, he notoriously starts slow and heats up in madman-almost-MVP style during October and November. He does it every year.

Therefore, the working theory suggests both worlds should begin coagulating — like now.

Minnesota should be able to blend winning-Cousins and stats-Cousins as early as Week 5.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).