Vikings Pay Up for Alexander Mattison, is He Ready for a Big-Time 2023 Fantasy Boost?

Will there be a major shakeup in the Vikings backfield?

Arguably one of the most important running back dominos to fall so far this offseason is the return of Alexander Mattison to the Minnesota Vikings. Mattison was an interesting name to watch this season for a plethora of reasons. 

For starters, Mattison was not drafted by the current general manager and head coach regime. Drafted in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer were the Vikings GM and HC combination at the time. It’s a real bode of confidence for both Mattison and fantasy managers that Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell decided to bring him back. Oftentimes, you see non-stars who were drafted by a previous regime move on when their rookie contract expires because they weren’t hand selected by the current regime. It looks like Mattison has played well enough to keep his spot on this Minnesota roster that will look a lot different next year.

Mattison’s new contract also means that star running back Dalvin Cook could be dealt this offseason. So far this offseason, the Vikings released Adam Thielen and former second-round tight end Irv Smith Jr. Cook’s departure would spell huge things for Mattison, presuming that there are no splash additions to this backfield. 

The Vikings are already up against the cap (the reason they are accepting offers for Cook) and only have two picks in the top 90 of this year’s NFL Draft (23, 87). The only running back that would really be in consideration here is Bijan Robinson at 23, but with so many holes to fill, that doesn’t seem like a realistic outcome. Anything can happen, of course, but I don’t see the Vikings filling the position with anyone to threaten Mattison’s spot. 

That being said, the opportunities should plentiful for Mattison in 2023. Cook had a surprisingly healthy 2022 season, so the only sample that we have with Mattison playing for an injured Cook is prior to last season.

In the six games without Dalvin Cook, Mattison would be on a 17-game pace of 1,400 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns. Obviously, these numbers are ludicrous. His 314-half PPR pace (good enough for the overall RB2 in 2022) doesn’t prove that he can do this over a full season, but it does show that when given the opportunity, he absolutely can shine.

The only question mark I have for Mattison is what involvement can/will he have in the passing role? Under Zimmer, Mattison stepped in and filled the entirety of the Dalvin Cook role when he was out injured. If the same happens for Mattison under O’Connell, he could be in line for a fringe RB1 season in 2023. 

In dynasty leagues, it’s probably too late to buy. The buying window was this time last season, but for me, he’s a top-20 dynasty running back for next season if the team moves on from Cook. If you’re a contending team, I’d be looking to make a move for Mattison who will likely be cheaper than the top 15 backs but you could get top-15 production from him in 2023. If I have Mattison as a non-contender, I’d be looking to sell him. He’ll start the season at 25 years old on only a two-year contract. There’s no long-term security for him and if I could package him to contender for a future first or a young wide receiver, I absolutely would. 

As of publication, Cook checks in at RB20 (-6 vs ECR), while Mattison comes in at RB41 (+3 vs ECR) on The Wolf’s 2023 Fantasy Rankings while we wait for the dust to settle in Minnesota.


  • Fantasy football enthusiast & writer for Roto Street Journal. Graduate of Saint Joseph's University Class of 2019.


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