The Minnesota Vikings will admittedly pass the football more in 2022 than the previous eight years, thanks to adding a new coaching staff in February. At the same time, that pass-happy offense is allegedly contemplating the retention of five RBs and FBs on the active roster.
Seems wonky, doesn’t it?
Well, that’s probably why rumored trade talks involving RB2 Alexander Mattison emerged to start the week. The Vikings are reportedly not actively shopping Mattison — but aren’t ignoring trade requests either. And because Minnesota would land a 3rd- or 4th-Round compensatory draft pick if Mattison left in free agency next spring, a 3rd- or 4th-Rounder seems to be the Vikings asking price for the Idaho State alumnus.
For that asking price to be honored, an NFL team will have to be dumb to pull the trigger on the deal. Why? Plain and simple — RBs2 aren’t worth 3rd- or 4th-Round draft capital. Perhaps this idea would be grand 20-30 years ago but not anymore.
Of course, outlier exceptions exist to the new, faux RB trading guidelines. Around this exact time last year, the Los Angeles Rams dealt a 4th- and 6th-Rounder to New England for running back Sony Michel. Coincidentally, the Miami Dolphins released Michel on Monday after the Rams opted not to renew his services in 2022.
It was an inordinately expensive price for Michel at the time of the trade — and looks even sillier for the Rams now. However, Los Angeles won a Super Bowl six months after the Michel trade, so nobody cared.
The Michel trade also might’ve set a precedent for what not to do with RB trades. Don’t break the bank. The Rams were lucky to gloss over the gaffe. The next spend-a-4th-Rounder-on-a-decent-RB team may not be as fortunate.
In reality, Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could perhaps land a 6th-Rounder or so for Mattison. Then, he must ask, is this worth it?
A 3rd-Round pick by Minnesota in 2019, Mattison has played in 42 games for the Vikings, starting six, while tallying 1,387 rushing yards, 435 receiving yards, and eight total touchdowns. He’s productive when he plays; he’s just not as explosive as his teammate Dalvin Cook. So, his shine as a potential RB1 is minimized by some.
In 2020, the Miami Dolphins acquired RB Matt Breida for a 5th-Round draft pick. That’s probably the Vikings ceiling in a Mattison trade.
Otherwise, Adofo-Mensah will be waiting around for the dimwittedness of an unnamed team to make the call. Maybe the Bears will pick up the phone.
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 Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).