Viking Playmaker Finishes Season with Embarrassing Mark

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As a rusher, Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison couldn’t find the endzone in 2023 despite 180 rushing attempts.

The stat is mind-boggling and could indicate that Mattison’s brief days as the team’s RB1 are kaput.

Viking Playmaker Finishes Season with Embarrassing Mark

Second-year tailback Ty Chandler earned an enhanced role down the stretch of 2023 and performed prolifically in two games against the Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions. Depending on the outcome of the upcoming offseason, Chandler could be on deck for RB1 duty next season. Otherwise, the Vikings own the 43rd overall pick in April’s draft, prime territory to grab a top halfback out of college.

Playmaker Finishes
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For Mattison, he tabulated 700 rushing yards on the aforementioned 180 carries — for zero touchdowns. And in NFL history, that embarrassing feat has only occurred a handful of times. Here’s the statistical skinny:

with 180+ Att, 700+ Yds, and 0 TD,
Single Season,
in NFL History:

Alexander Mattison (MIN) | 2023
Michael Pittman (TB) | 2003
Marcel Shipp (ARI) | 2003
Garrison Hearst (CIN) | 1996
Clark Gaines (NYJ) | 1979
Joe Washington (BAL) | 1978
Preston Carpenter (CLE) | 1956

The Vikings 2021 Offense by the Numbers: After Week 1
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Mattison fired up a first-time-in-20-year accomplishment, and not in a good way.

In fairness to the Vikings veteran, Mattison did bank two receiving touchdowns in 2023; it wasn’t a total MLB shutout. He just failed to carry the rock to paydirt as a runner but scored twice as a pass-catcher.

Meanwhile, Mattison is essentially guaranteed to return with the Vikings in 2024 — probably as RB2 or RB3 — as cutting the man has no benefit. No matter what, he’ll inflict a $4 million dead cap hit on Minnesota’s books. There is no good reason to let him walk as a team might contemplate after an underwhelming season.

Starters in 2023
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

Mattison was just 74 yards away from a $250,000 contractual incentive heading into Week 18 at the Detroit Lions but fell 50 yards short. Chandler’s emergence as RB1 late in the season did Mattison’s pocketbook no favors.

Minnesota has some soul-searching afoot regarding the ground game, too. Entering 2023, the coaching staff and players talked all offseason about a better rushing attack as a point of emphasis. The club wanted more offensive playcalling balance.

Then the Vikings arrived to the 2023 season and ranked 27th per rushing DVOA. They’ll have to find new personnel or adapt a new rushing scheme to remedy ills from 2022 and 2023.

Michigan running back Blake Corum (2) runs against Washington cornerback Elijah Jackson (25) during the second half of the national championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

If the Vikings used a 2nd-Round pick on a running back — who can score rushing touchdowns — Jonathon Brooks (Texas), Blake Corum (Michigan), and Trey Benson (Florida State), among others, should be available.

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