Alexander Mattison Will Learn a Lot about His Life in 10 Days

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In a week and a half, the Minnesota Vikings will fortify their depth chart with at least five new rookies and perhaps more if general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah trades oodles of picks like he did last year.

Minnesota has 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th-Round picks on the menu, with long-term roster needs at cornerback, wide receiver, off-ball linebacker, and perhaps quarterback.

Alexander Mattison Will Learn a Lot about His Life in 10 Days

But one man will learn a lot about his NFL duty in about 10 days — running back Alexander Mattison. Here are the stakes for the 24-year-old.

A Full-Time RB1?

Mattison signed a two-year, $7 million contract extension in March, a nod to his probable RB1 status in 2023. The Boise State alumnus, to date, has served as a faithful RB2 behind Dalvin Cook for four years, always ready to harness the workload when Cook fell injured.

And if the Vikings trade or release Cook — a popular theory in the Vikings digital orbit — Mattison would be the guy at running back or at least the player to receive the first hand-off of 2023.

Alexander Mattison Will
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Believe it or not, Mattison is the youngest running back on the team’s roster as of April 18th, an odd standing with Cook, Ty Chandler, and Kene Nwangwu as Mattison’s teammates. Mattison entered the business in 2019, while Chandler arrived in 2022 and Nwangwu in 2021. Mattison was a young rookie when former boss Rick Spielman scooped him from the 2019 NFL Draft, so he’s somehow “the baby” of the group despite playing more seasons than Chandler and Nwangwu.

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If the Vikings indeed trade Cook to a team like the Miami Dolphins — the odds-on favorites for Cook’s services — Mattison would likely be on tap as the RB1 for the first time in his NFL career. Head coach Kevin O’Connell won a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams in 2021 sans a totally dominant running back. Perhaps Mattison is all Minnesota needs in the 2023 RB room.

Another Rookie RB to Split Carries?

There could be a caveat, though. Just because Mattison is back for a decent chunk of cash doesn’t mean the Vikings can be ruled out from selecting another rusher in the draft. This year’s event is stuffed to the gills with productive running backs, and all but one — Texas’ Bijan Robinson — will be available after Round 1.

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It’s a very weird era to be a running back in the league, as men who would’ve been Round 1 picks 10 years ago are now 4th- and 5th-Round draft commodities. The Vikings even met with University of Alabama-Birmingham’s DeWayne McBride last week, and while he wouldn’t be one of the aforementioned 1st-Rounders from drafts of yesteryear, Adofo-Mensah could still scoop him for a handsome workload in 2023 or 2024.

If you’re wondering why fantasy managers nationwide are salivating about rookie running backs, it’s because of sheer volume. About 10 halfbacks could receive heavy-workload assignments in 2023, and many will join teams after Round 1 of the NFL draft.

The Vikings could draft one more running back, dampening Mattison’s for-now RB1 aspirations.

Dalvin Cook Back after All?

Listen, a Cook trade or release isn’t a done deal. It feels like he’s on a path to join a non-purple team for the first time in his career, but the transaction actually has to happen first.

a Dalvin Cook
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There’s a small chance Cook caves, accepts a contractual restructure, and is once again Minnesota’s bellcow running back. Would it really be the strangest thing ever if your phone buzzed, and the Vikings reached an agreement with Cook to keep him a Viking in 2023? No.

Should Cook return, Mattison would revert to a familiar gig — Cook’s productive RB2 and teammate. The two have manned the Vikings backfield for four seasons, and perhaps one last ride comes to fruition if Adofo-Mensah retains Cook.

On the whole, Mattison is set to learn ample information about his job by the end of the draft.

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,’ and The Doors (the band).

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