The Vikings ‘Breakout Star’ Theory Is a Little Surprising

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Lewis Cine? Andrew Booth? Jordan Addison?

Nope. Those are not the Minnesota Vikings breakout stars on tap for 2023, according to Bleacher Report.

The Vikings ‘Breakout Star’ Theory Is a Little Surprising

Minnesota ventures into a brave new world this September without an Adrian Peterson or Dalvin Cook connected to the roster for the first time since 2006. And per Bleacher Report‘s Kristopher Knox, Cook’s replacement, Alexander Mattison, is the team’s budding ‘breakout star.’

Breakout Star
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The Vikings severed ties with Cook last month, a cap-clearing maneuver as the longtime running back was scheduled to incur a $14.1 million cap hit against the books in 2023. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said no thanks to that chunky salary and instead allotted Mattison an extension for two years and $7 million.

Mattison is now poised to grab the RB1 title for the first in his professional career.

Alexander Mattison
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Knox nominated a breakout player from each NFL team and wrote about Mattison for Minnesota, “This might be the most obvious entry on our list. Following the release of Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison is expected to become the new backfield star for the Minnesota Vikings. To this point in his career, Mattison has served as Cook’s backup and as an occasional spot-starter. He’s impressed in that role, however, amassing 2,196 scrimmage yards and 14 touchdowns in four seasons despite making only six starts.”

Mattison thrived, to a degree, when Cook missed time due to injury in 2019, 2020, and 2021.

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“Cook made the Pro Bowl in each of the last four seasons as Minnesota’s starter. While it remains to be seen if Mattison can be as productive as Cook was, history suggests that he can at least come close. In four starts during the 2021 season, Mattison averaged 89 rushing yards and 41 receiving yards while scoring three combined touchdowns. If he can produce at a similar rate this year, Mattison will have a realistic shot at a Pro Bowl nod,” Knox concluded.

One item is stopping Mattison from effectuating Knox’s prophecy — touches and carries. It is unclear if the Vikings will lean into Mattison, per workload, like Peterson and Cook from the last 16 seasons. Under the aforementioned Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell, now may be the time when Minnesota, alas, embraces an RB-by-committee approach. We shall see.

Youngest Offseason
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If Mattison can command 300+ touches in 2023 like Cook in previous seasons, indeed, he might break out into RB1 stardom. But Minnesota also employs Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu, and DeWayne McBride at running back. Those three could cut into Mattison’s workload.

Otherwise, no one would be upset if the men listed above — Cine, Booth, or Addison — broke out in addition to or instead of Mattison.

Vikings training camp begins Sunday.


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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.