Alexander Mattison Reveals Why He Re-Signed with Vikings

Year 1 of the O'Connell Era
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) reacts after losing a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Alexander Mattison was stuck in the shadow of star running back Dalvin Cook for the first four years of his career. With Cook’s departure, he now has the opportunity to be the starter for the first time in his professional career rather than only receiving carries in mop-up duties and when the four-time Pro Bowler was hurt or needed to catch his breath.

Alexander Mattison Reveals Why He Re-Signed with the Vikings

Alexander Mattison Reveals Why He Re-Signed With the Vikings
Oct 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) and running back Alexander Mattison (2) look on before the game against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

That chance to be the go-to guy was a big reason why Mattison returned to the Vikings after his contract expired, and he had full control to pick his next team. The running back talked about it on the Yahoo Fantasy Football Podcast. He was asked if he “had a feeling that Dalvin might no longer be with the team” and what “the biggest draw” was to re-sign in Minnesota.

They gave me the most respect. They gave me the most interest as far as bringing me back and with that in mind, I wasn’t signing to come back and be a backup. Going into it, we knew what it was and understood the situation and all the details that were all gonna unfold later and were part of the business of being in the NFL. But yeah, signing that contract, I knew.

Alexander Mattison

Both interest and opportunity played a significant part in his decision to return.

Mattison signed a lucrative contract, earning $7 million in the next two seasons with most of it guaranteed – a large contract in today’s running back market, considering his status as a backup for four seasons.

It was the first hint of the eventual Cook departure. The star running back was released more than two months later and has been trying to find a team willing to pay big bucks for him in a bad economy to be an RB.

The decision-makers in Minnesota and his teammates have always praised Mattison as a great player in the locker room. He has been extremely dependable when asked to step into Cook’s role.

Youngest Offseason
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.

The former Boise State halfback has started six games in his career. He was the next man up whenever Cook missed time. In those six games, Mattison fired up almost 700 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns, showing his potential as a bell-cow running back and satisfying the Vikings and fantasy football players.

Mattison faces competition in training camp, although head coach Kevin O’Connell stated that the competition would occur behind Mattison for the backup roles. However, someone having a superb showing in training camp can never be ruled out, especially considering the talent of the guys on the roster.

Kene Nwangwu has shown enormous talent as a kick returner but hasn’t been able to showcase those skills on offense. Fans are interested to see if his speed and burst could translate to the running back position.

Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler (32) carries the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders during a preseason game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Ty Chandler, a 2022 draft pick, also possesses fantastic explosiveness and flashed in last year’s preseason but barely played in his debut season because of a thumb injury, and the two established backs Cook and Mattison received most snaps when he was healthy.

The last player in the mix is rookie DeWayne McBride who had an extremely productive college career. He is the big wild card and could surprise some folks as he has already drawn some comparisons to Isiah Pacheco, last year’s seventh-round pick who came out of nowhere and helped the Chiefs on their Super Bowl run.

For now, it should be assumed that Mattison is the new RB1, succeeding Cook and his predecessor Adrian Peterson. In 59 games with the Vikings, Mattison rushed for 1,670 yards and 11 TDs. He turned 25 in June.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt