Vikings Not Expected To Extend RB Alexander Mattison

It sounds like Alexander Mattison will definitely hit free agency following the upcoming season. Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (on Twitter) doesn’t expect the Vikings to extend the running back before the start of the upcoming campaign. The RB told the reporter that he’s “not aware” of any talks between his camp and the Vikings front office, and Tomasson hints that the RB will likely test the open market in pursuit of a starting gig.

Mattison was a third-round pick by the Vikings in 2019, and he’s transformed into a necessary backup for his oft-injured teammate, Dalvin Cook. In six career starts, Mattison has collected 693 yards from scrimmage and five total touchdowns on 140 touches. Those numbers account for a good portion of his career stats, and while he’s often playing behind a workhorse starter, he’s shown he can be productive when he gets the bulk of his team’s carries.

The 24-year-old set a number of career highs in 2021, running for 491 yards and three touchdowns while hauling in another 32 receptions. Pro Football Focus graded him as a below-average halfback, although his grade was partly dragged down by poor scores in both pass blocking and (especially) run blocking.

Two summers ago, the Vikings signed Cook to a five-year, $63MM deal, and it’s unlikely the front office will want to commit a whole lot more to the position. The organization used a fourth-round pick on Kene Nwangwu last year and a fifth-round pick on Ty Chandler this year, so they’re well positioned to replace Mattison’s spot on the depth chart.

Barring an unexpected breakout in 2022, Mattison probably can’t expect a significant pay day. The three free agent RBs who topped $5MM AAV this offseason were Leonard Fournette, Chase Edmonds, and Cordarrelle Patterson, and they each have more starting experience than Mattison. If a team truly believes in his potential, he could see a contract that more resembles J.D. McKissic‘s deal with Washington. McKissic has more starting experience and is an elite pass-catching back (including an 80-catch campaign in 2020), and he ended up inking a two-year, $7MM deal.

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