One Viking Thought He Was a Goner This Offseason

Verdict Is in for Ham
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings fullback C.J. Ham (left) hugs running back Alexander Mattison (2) after losing a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

After the Minnesota Vikings lost in the Wildcard Round of the postseason at home to the New York Giants on January 15th, emotions ran high on the field as some players expected that moment to be their final with the franchise.

Alexander Mattison was among them.

One Viking Thought He Was a Goner This Offseason

The Vikings then-RB2 was on the docket for unrestricted free agency, in the clear to sign anywhere in the NFL, and forecasted by websites like this one to possibly depart.

One Viking Thought
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) walks off the field after the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

But Mattison remained, as Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah welcomed back the running back for two years and $7 million. Mattison is on tap to grab RB1 duties for the first time in his career, especially after incumbent RB1 Dalvin Cook was released on June 9th.

Mattison, though, didn’t necessarily expect to be back in purple.

The 2023 Vikings Free
Dec 5, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (25) walks off the field after the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports.

He told SiriusXM NFL Radio last week, “I actually didn’t think that I’d be back in Minnesota, so it’s a blessing to be back, to be in a place where I spent the first four years of my career and loved it there. To be there, be a part of this team, this locker room, the ownership, the staff. It’s a great place to be, so I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, and while I’m with this opportunity in front of me, I just see so much upside.”

In four seasons, the Boise State alumnus has carried the ball 404 times for 1,670 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Mattison has also banked 526 receiving yards in 59 career games.

Vikings Could Wrap up the Thing Sunday in Time for Supper
Sep 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) scores a touchdown over Detroit Lions linebacker Austin Bryant (2) and safety Will Harris (25) during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

“Just coming back into year two of this offense under coach K.O. (Kevin O’Connell) and (offensive coordinator) Wes Phillips. They just, they know what they’re doing, and we’ve gone back to the drawing board, and we’ve seen a lot of where we can improve from last year, especially in the run game, so it’s pretty exciting,” Mattison told SiriusXM.

Meanwhile, Mattison will lead the charge this September on a team that promises to run the ball more. In Kevin O’Connell’s first season as head coach, the Vikings ranked third-to-last via rushing playcall percentage, creating a point of focus to run the rock more in 2023.

Alexander Mattison
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) celebrates after an NFL International Series game against the New Orleans Saints at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Saints 28-25. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Mattison actually mentioned the balanced playing calling in May, “We all knew the run game was an area of improvement we needed, so coming into this year,┬áthere’s more emphasis. Being in Year 1 in this offense, it was something that throughout the process is learning new things, so that’s a year of foundation that we have, can look back on that at what we need to correct and do well, what we don’t do as well and improve. It’s definitely been a little more emphasis.”

The recently-promoted playmaker will headline the RB room that hopes to rush the ball more in 2023 — mere months after he believed his time in Minnesota was kaput. That’s quite the offseason whirlwind.

Mattison turned 25 one week ago.

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