Per Matt Lombardo, the Minnesota Vikings are fielding trade offers for one of their veteran players — Alexander Mattison. The running back is entering his fourth season in the league.
Mattison came into the league as a third-rounder in the 2019 draft. Rick Spielman tried to get a backup for star runner Dalvin Cook, and he did just that. Whenever Cook is hurt, Mattison steps right in and takes his carries.
He started six games and recorded 477 yards in those games. The average yards per game of 79.5 yards would rank him over Christian McCaffrey and Joe Mixon since 2019. He also scored three rushing touchdowns in the six games, added two more through the air, and had an average of 36 receiving yards per game.
Mattison has recorded 1,387 rushing yards, six touchdowns, 55 catches, and two receiving touchdowns throughout his career. His rushing yards per season were 462 in 2019, 434 in 2020, and 491 in 2021. He has been a solid and dependable backup for Cook.
So, why would the Vikings trade him? There are two reasons.
The rookie running back is looking like a star. While preseason statistics can be inflated, he recorded 114 rushing yards and one touchdown on just 15 carries. He possesses incredible speed and has shown his power. Chandler can bounce off tackles better than the usual late-round pick. While it might be too early for that, he looks like the kind of player that can be a starter someday. With the Vikings, however, all he has to do is to back up Cook. Playing solid football for a game or two while replacing the injured Cook and providing some explosiveness as a rotational player would be his role.
Another player in the mix is Kene Nwangwu. The return specialist looked pretty good in camp, too. He could help Chandler as another backup running back. Like the rookie, Nwangwu is a speedy player. He doesn’t look as natural as a runner but is a home run threat on every play.
Long story short, the Vikings have other backup options that can take over and could save a roster spot. Teams rarely carry five running backs on the active roster. Cook, Mattison, Chandler, Nwangwu, and Ham are five that are worth keeping. If they trade Mattison, the Vikings don’t have to think about cutting one of them.
Mattison provides something to the mix this season as a backup for Cook. But it will probably be his last campaign in Minnesota. The question is if he’s providing more than the Vikings would get in return for their back. That’s a question only Kwesi Adofo-Mensah can answer.
Another wrinkle of this trade idea is the compensation pick the Vikings could get for him. This depends on the signings and departures in free agency next off-season. It’s impossible to assume anything at this point, but keeping Mattison for this year could get the organization a late-round compensation pick. If the value of trading and keeping him is the same, the Vikings, obviously, would be better off if they kept him. Former Vikings GM Rick Spielman recently suggested that a trade to the Eagles would make sense.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt