Vikings RB Returns for 2023 after All

One Big Mystery
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Relative continuity seems to be a theme on offense for the Minnesota Vikings so far this offseason, aside from the departure of Adam Thielen.

Garrett Bradbury re-signed with the club Tuesday and will maintain his job as the Vikings starting center barring a summer setback. But that wasn’t all.

Vikings RB Returns for 2023 after All

A day later, inside general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s favorite time of day for business — the nighttime hours — Minnesota re-signed running back Alexander Mattison for an additional two years.

Vikings RB Returns
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NFL Network‘s Tom Pelissero tweeted, “Another top running back domino to fall: Alexander Mattison agreed to a two-year contract to remain with the Vikings, per source. The deal is worth $7 million that can get to $8M with $6.35M in guarantees.”

A candidate to trek elsewhere in search of an RB1 job, Mattison stays put in the North Star State and might just find an RB1 job with the team that drafted him in 2019. Former bossman Rick Spielman plucked Mattison out of the 3rd Round for the 2019 NFL Draft, and in the proceeding four years, the man has filled the job as RB2 without fail.

The Vikings 2021 Offense by the Numbers: After Week 1
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The news stunned some, as Mattison was long-theorized as a no-brainer to depart. But the clues were evident on a possible reunion — as early as the aftermath of the Vikings home playoffs loss to the New York Giants in January. ESPN’s Kevin Seifert tweeted after that game, “[Kirk] Cousins mentioned two pending free agents that he feels close to: center Garrett Bradbury and tailback Alexander Mattison.”

Fast forward two months — and exactly two months — Bradbury and Mattison were retained by the Vikings, just like Cousins drew it up. The QB1 will have oodles of continuity in 2023 — from an entire offensive line unless the team gets funky in the draft with a new guard or center, Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, and now Mattison.

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Other roster implications exist, too, from the Mattison move, mainly Dalvin Cook’s status. The 27-year-old remains under contract as RB1, with a climactic Friday quasi-deadline to trade, keep, or release Cook. Along with Harrison Smith and Za’Darius Smith, contract portions guarantee on March 17th — yes, St. Patrick’s Day — and conventional logic suggests Adofo-Mensah would make moves on all three by then (if he plans to make any at all).

Cook has been a frequent inhabitant of the trade rumor mill in the last two weeks, connected to the Miami Dolphins in recent days and various other inquirers, according to sources. Retaining Mattison appears to indicate Cook could be heading to his next team. Otherwise, Minnesota would somewhat strangely “run it back” with an expensive RB room, which should be the antithesis of an analytics-based general manager’s philosophy.

For now, though, this is the Vikings RB depth:

  • Dalvin Cook
  • Alexander Mattison
  • Ty Chandler
  • Kene Nwangwu

Looks familiar, doesn’t it?

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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