After Alexander Mattison's Rough Season, What Will Vikings Do at...... - footballivenews
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After Alexander Mattison’s Rough Season, What Will Vikings Do at……



During the previous offseason, the Vikings made strategic moves, re-signing Alexander Mattison to a two-year, $7 million contract, allowing them to release Dalvin Cook and create cap space. The anticipation was that Mattison, previously Cook’s backup, would seize the opportunity to lead an NFL backfield, aiming to rejuvenate the Vikings’ struggling run game from the 2022 season.

While the decision to part ways with Cook seemed justified after his challenging 2023, Mattison’s performance fell short of expectations. Averaging 3.9 yards per carry, he ranked 30th in PFF rushing grade among the 35 running backs with a minimum of 150 carries. Mattison faced a unique historical feat, becoming the 13th player in the Super Bowl era, and the second since 2003, with over 180 carries and zero rushing touchdowns, although he did contribute three receiving TDs. Additionally, he encountered fumbling issues in crucial moments.

Unfortunately, Mattison’s struggles mirrored the broader challenges of the Vikings’ running game in the past year. The team registered a mere seven total rushing touchdowns, tying for the league’s lowest. Only four of these came from running backs, emphasizing the team’s deficiencies. Across various metrics, including rushing percentage, rushing yards per game, rushing DVOA, and EPA per rush, the Vikings ranked in the bottom quartile of the league.

Addressing this weakness remains a key focus as they approach the 2024 season.

Coach Kevin O’Connell emphasized the ongoing evaluation of their run game strategy, recognizing that even a small difference in yards per carry could significantly impact their league standing. While Mattison is likely to remain on the roster, his role as RB1 is doubtful. Ty Chandler concluded the season as the lead back, showcasing agility with 461 rushing yards on 4.5 YPC and a commendable PFF rushing grade of 77.2. However, both Chandler and Mattison need improvement in pass protection, particularly in blitz pickups.

Cam Akers, recovering from his second torn Achilles, is a restricted free agent with potential for a cost-effective return. The roster also includes Kene Nwangwu, Myles Gaskin, and DeWayne McBride as other running backs. GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah might explore additional options through free agency or the draft, with an emphasis on cost-effectiveness. While a high-profile signing or early draft pick seems unlikely, the Vikings are expected to add competition during training camp, possibly with a cheap veteran or late-round pick.

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