Alexander Mattison Prepares to Live the Dream

Alexander Mattison
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

With the dawn of the 2023 NFL season upon us, Alexander Mattison prepares to live the dream. After four seasons admirably serving as the understudy to Dalvin Cook, Mattison gets his chance to step out from the shadows and into the spotlight of being the Vikings RB1. A challenge the Vikings number 2 is ready for.

Alexander Mattison Prepares to Live the Dream

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The official Minnesota Vikings UK account on the X app (formerly Twitter) shared a short sit-down interview with Mattison. The Vikings running back shared his thoughts on becoming the Vikings lead back and his goals for the season.

It was an interesting insight into Mattison’s mindset as he embarks on what is destined to be a huge season for him personally. The running back position is undergoing a transformation, where it was once the most pivotal position on a team’s offense, it’s now almost an afterthought for some. Hence the Vikings released the highly talented and highly paid Cook in favor of re-signing Mattison on a 2-year $7 million contract with a cap hit this season of just $2.4 million.

At just 25 years old, and with four years of experience, but without being run into the ground like a lead tailback usually is – Mattison is an intriguing proposition. If he can lead the Vikings running game well, and establish himself as a genuine RB1, there’s another more lucrative contract out there for him. If he doesn’t then it’s floating around as a backup in the league for a few more years. In his own words, Mattison prepares to live the dream, “I’m blessed to be in this position, it’s something that I’ve dreamed of since I was six”

An Opportunity Four Years in the Making

Youngest Offseason
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Mattison was drafted in the third round by the Vikings back in 2019, perhaps as insurance for Cook who had injury problems over his first two seasons. Cook was healthy enough to deliver four straight 1000-rushing yard seasons. There were some opportunities for Mattison who started six games across the 2020 and 2021 seasons. There were no starts last season in O’Connell’s new-look Vikings offense and Mattison had his lowest numbers in terms of carries (74) and yards (283), however, he turned that into a career-best five rushing touchdowns.

While waiting for his time to arrive finally Mattison says he has “always prepared to be RB1” and he is ready for the pressure that comes with a starting role, and is pivotal to the team’s game plan. Mattison isn’t the exclusive playmaker that Cook has been for the Vikings offense. What O’Connell will be hoping for is a level of consistency that can complement the team’s passing game. If Mattison can find that alongside the newly signed Myles Gaskin and Ty Chandler. It should lead to a more balanced Vikings offense than the one that was boom or bust at times last season.

Goals for 2023

The Vikings 2021 Offense by the Numbers: After Week 1
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Mattison has yards and touchdown goals for the 2023 season, but individual accomplishments are not what this Vikings team is about. “I do have my own goals in mind”, said Mattison. However, he didn’t reveal what they were instead focusing on what he could do for the team to reach the ultimate goal. “All that’s on my mind is getting better every single day and being the best I can be for my team, and helping my team get to a position where we can be at the end. I think we’ve got the potential to go all the way.”

The benchmark for an RB1 is to hit the 1000 rushing yards Mark. The question is whether Mattison will be a workhorse RB1 the same way Cook was, or whether he will be the leader of a committee of running backs. It’s not completely clear which way the Vikings will go. I believe Mattison will get most of the ball early in the season, but Chandler and Gaskin will come into the game plan more as the season progresses. Whichever way brings the Vikings success is all that matters.

Mattison gets the first chance to live his dream next Sunday, as the Vikings take on the Buccaneers in the season opener at US Bank Stadium.