Here’s Who Should Replace Alexander Mattison

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The Minnesota Vikings made the move official on Monday, and sometime soon, the club will have to replace Alexander Mattison.

Here’s Who Should Replace Alexander Mattison

After five seasons, Minnesota cut ties with Mattison this week, saving about $3 million in cap space and presumably pivoting to Ty Chandler at RB1. But before too long, the Vikings will need honest-to-goodness depth behind Chandler, an RB2 to form a true committee.

Replace Alexander Mattison
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When the time arrives, that should be rookie tailback Braelon Allen from the University of Wisconsin.

Allen should be gettable in the draft’s middle rounds, an event that kicks off in seven weeks. Minnesota owns most of its organic picks and then some, sans a 3rd-Rounder used to acquire T.J. Hockenson a year and a half ago. If general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah identifies Allen as a suitable RB2 for the Vikings’ offense, he’ll be attainable in the draft.

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Why Allen? Well, several reasons. He’s unbelievably young; the man turned 20 seven weeks ago. Twenty-year-old players in a draft are rare, especially at a high-profile position like a running back. With youth on his side, Allen is also huge. He’s 6’1″ and 240 pounds but runs a 4.40 forty. Pairing that bowling-ball stature with Chandler, particularly around the goal line, would be fantastic for Minnesota. And, yes, that’s the same Vikings’ offense that didn’t score a rushing touchdown until Week 8 in 2023.

At the moment, these are the Vikings halfbacks under contract for 2024:

  • Ty Chandler
  • Kene Nwangwu
  • DeWayne McBride
  • Myles Gaskin
Please Step Up
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That group needs one more, and Allen feels perfect for the role. Nwangwu is the team’s kick returner and could actually be a cut candidate later this summer. The verdict is still out on McBride, a rookie from last year. Gaskin is a RB3 or RB4 type.

Some believe the Vikings will spend dollars on a free-agent running back next week; the free-agent market at RB is arguably the most significant in NFL history this go-round. But if they do not — general managers like Adofo-Mensah tend not to spend megabucks on aging runners — Allen makes all the sense in the world.

The Draft Network‘s Damian Parson described Allen in January, “Braelon Allen has the look of an NFL starting running back. His game is predicated on power and physicality. Allen is at his best squarely attacking the line of scrimmage and getting downhill quickly. Placing him inside a gap/power scheme is the ideal route to get the most out of his talents. He has good open-field speed once he breaks past the 1st and 2nd lines of defense.”

Wacky Justin
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Youth, size, speed, and a Vikings’ roster need — Allen would fit like a glove inside a Vikings’ ground game that needs immediate and vast improvement.

The NFL Draft is 51 days away.

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).

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