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Alexander Mattison, the Vikings running back, has inked a two-year extension worth $7 million with the team that could potentially trade him or keep him on as a reserve runner if needed.
General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah must make difficult decisions between now and March 15, when the new league year begins, about several key players. These include Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen and Eric Kendricks.
Despite not having a breakout season, running back Alexander Mattison has been an invaluable asset for the Vikings. Since being selected in the third round of 2019, Mattison has served as a backup to Dalvin Cook while Cook is away.
Over the course of two seasons, Mattison has averaged 115.5 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns in six starts. Four times he has rushed for over 90 yards, while also hauling in 19 receptions for 162 receiving yards to go along with his impressive rushing output.
Mattison could easily reach for the big bucks in 2020 if he can maintain this level of play, though this will likely prove challenging given all the talented running backs set to hit free agency this year.
Running backs are one of the most competitive positions in the NFL, with many teams searching for a young star or veteran who can help them reach their highest potential. That's why Minnesota should strive to retain Mattison while they determine their long-term strategy.
One of the biggest questions facing the Vikings is if they will be able to retain their star running back, Dalvin Cook. That has reportedly sparked trade talks with various teams around the league.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that the Vikings are actively seeking to re-sign their other backup running back, Alexander Mattison. Although this might not come as a shocker, it still deserves mention given Minnesota's tight salary cap situation.
As such, many teams have expressed an interest in the former Boise State star who has only been in the league for three seasons. Though he has limited snaps in the NFL, his talent and potential make him a starting caliber running back, particularly under offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell's guidance.
Mattison has amassed 799 rushing yards and five touchdowns during his time with the Vikings, also being an efficient receiver (70 receptions over four seasons). Given his age and limited playing time, it's not hard to understand why so many teams are interested in signing him.
The Vikings have several running back options, such as Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison and Kene Nwangwu. Ty Chandler could potentially replace Cook if he is traded or released.
However, Minnesota must decide what to do with Mattison. As a free agent, he could potentially find an opportunity elsewhere and so trading him could be in the cards.
Mattison could potentially benefit the Philadelphia Eagles if he were to move on. Miles Sanders is already their starting running back, but they may need another backup running back. Mattison would be an inexpensive choice and has already shown success working on committee.
He has only fumbled once in his career, which is impressive considering he only receives 25% snapshare on the Vikings offense.
Mattison could be an ideal addition to the Eagles offense. They need a powerful running back who can get them down field when necessary, and Mattison can provide that boost.
Though it seems unlikely that the Vikings will trade Mattison, he could be dealt to help the team out in the future. With several young runners already on their roster - Nwangwu and Chandler included - and potential use of draft picks on running back talent, the Vikings may be able to acquire more options down that route.
There are plenty of teams searching for an affordable running back to complement their current running backs, and Mattison would be an ideal candidate. He's a starter-caliber running back who has had to settle into a backup role in the past, making him an excellent addition to any NFL squad.
If the Vikings decide to part ways with Cook this offseason, they would free up $7.9 million in cap space while taking on $6.2 million in dead money - an attractive deal for teams looking to upgrade at running back. While it may not make financial sense for them to part with Cook now, doing so could certainly increase their chances of returning to the playoffs in 2023.
If you're searching for a handcuff running back that will produce for your team, Alexander Mattison is your man. The Vikings selected him in the first round of this year's draft and he has quickly established himself as an essential part of their running game.
In his first season with the Vikings, he's averaged more than five carries per game and scored over two fantasy points per outing in each contest. Additionally, he's an effective receiver out of the backfield as well.
However, you'll need to wait in order to take advantage of this player's potential. With Dalvin Cook (shoulder) still out, Mattison will serve as the starting running back for the Vikings for now.
Fantasy football owners looking for a top-tier running back at an affordable price should look no further than Mattison. He's likely to score touchdowns and haul in catches in an offense with plenty of talent, but he won't be able to take over for Cook until that comes back from injury.
Mattison has an average draft position of 37.3% in ESPN leagues, making him a cost-effective option to add into your lineup. As one of the most reliable handcuffs in the NFL, Mattison will remain an important piece for Minnesota's backfield for years to come.
Being prepared for injuries, suspensions and COVID is paramount in any successful season. A few experienced players like this can help ensure your team remains healthy throughout the course of play. The key is knowing who the best handcuffs are and how to utilize them effectively.
This offseason, there has been a lot of excitement surrounding the running back market. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to find value at this position. A number of talented players are set to become free agents this offseason such as Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, David Montgomery and Tony Pollard.
Mattison has spent his entire career playing behind Dalvin Cook, and he has proven to be an impressive backup for the Vikings. In 59 games over four seasons with six starts, Mattison carried the ball 404 times for 1,670 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Mattison's numbers may not be the best, but they still represent impressive progress for an unproven player considering all the competition at his position. It's possible that Mattison could draw interest from running back-needy teams this offseason which would further increase his value to teams.
As such, the Vikings could be in a good position to retain him. He has plenty of potential and the team likely wants him in purple for as long as possible.
With this in mind, it would make sense for the Vikings to sign him to a new contract this offseason. Securing one of the most productive backups in the NFL for several years while he builds his resume as a starter would be an intelligent decision.
However, the Vikings must exercise caution in trying to retain Mattison. There are some concerns that he might not be willing to sign a contract as lucrative as what they expect.
Mattison could be targeting the starting job in 2023, which would be beneficial to both him and the Vikings as he gets to experience what it takes to be an elite NFL running back.
Re-signing with the Vikings would be a huge advantage for Mattison in the long run, as he'd have an experienced supporting cast at his disposal. This gives him an excellent opportunity to become one of the top five running backs in the NFL while also making him a valuable fantasy football asset.