Mattison, on the fourth and final year of his rookie contract, will reach free agency in the offseason and is expected to test the market for a starting running back job after proving himself as a reliable option behind Dalvin Cook.
Heavy NFL insider Matt Lombardo reported in the offseason that the Vikings were “listening to offers” for Mattison, which prompted a Pioneer Press report that over a dozen teams had inquired about acquiring Mattison.
Approaching the trade deadline, calls haven’t stopped.
Vikings Still Receiving Calls on RB Alexander Mattison
On October 27, Lombardo reported that teams “continue to make calls to the #Vikings on RB Alexander Mattison, per multiple sources. Minnesota prioritizes him, so a trade may prove unlikely.”
The Vikings face the dilemma of whether they’re fully invested in the current season or are building for the future. First-year general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah called this season a “competitive rebuild,” but after a 5-1 start and the NFC appearing weak, the Vikings have an opportunity to make a considerable postseason run with a home playoff game in the cards currently.
Dealing a proven replacement for Cook is risky given his injury history. He’s already playing with a shoulder brace for the rest of the season after suffering a shoulder subluxation in Week 2.
When Cook has been out, Mattison has played admirably, surpassing 100 rushing yards three times in his career and posting over 90 rushing yards in four of his six starts. He’s a proven asset and an important piece to the Vikings offense despite his tertiary role when Cook is healthy.
However, getting anything for Mattison is a missed opportunity to gain draft capital for the new regime that’s making things work with the former tenant’s furniture. Mattison won’t have a problem finding a new team that will let him compete for a starting job in free agency. Getting something in return would be ideal.
If Mattison signs with a new team in the offseason, Minnesota is in line to receive a compensatory third- or fourth-round pick. The Vikings won’t accept any offer that doesn’t exceed that value.
Running back remains a fickle position where a player is often at their peak or even past their prime by the time they sign a second contract. The offers for Mattison are likely not worthwhile with the Vikings content with keeping Mattison the rest of the season.
Vikings Haven’t Used Diverse RB Room as Expected
The preseason gave a glimpse into the bevy of weapons in the running back room, but through seven weeks, the Vikings haven’t used their backs as hoped.
Yes, rookie running back Ty Chandler has been out with a thumb injury, but he nor speedster Kene Nwangwu have played a single offensive snap this season. Nwangwu is one of the league’s fastest running backs but is only viewed for his value in the return game.
As the season wears on, the Vikings should look to include more backs into the game plan to keep some tread on Cook’s tires.