Source: At least 12 teams have called to express interest in trading for Vikings RB Alexander Mattison
Sources said that Mattison ... very much likes being in Minnesota but that he wants to be a starting running back.
EAGAN, Minn. — With Minnesota Vikings backup running back Alexander Mattison entering the final year of his contract and having no current interest in signing an extension, at least a dozen teams have inquired about trading for him.
A source said Monday afternoon that at least 12 teams had called to express interest. NFL teams must get down to the regular-season roster limit of 53 by Tuesday afternoon.
Sources said that Mattison, who has spent the past three seasons backing up star running back Dalvin Cook, very much likes being in Minnesota but that he wants to be a starting running back. That’s why Mattison, 24, doesn’t want to tie himself to the Vikings beyond this season.
“I can understand his situation,” said former Vikings star running back Chuck Foreman, who has gotten to know Cook and Mattison in recent years. “He is a No. 1 back someplace else, no question about it, and deserves an opportunity to play someplace.”
While the Vikings are not actively shopping Mattison, they would move him if the deal is right, most likely for a future draft choice. One source said the Vikings want a third- or fourth-round pick but it’s uncertain if they could command a selection that high.
“I think he’s a high-valued player around the league,” Foreman said. “The Vikings would probably want to get a draft choice of some kind. The good thing for the Vikings at that particular position is they’re very deep.”
Other Vikings running backs are Kene Nwangwu, a fourth-round pick in 2021, and rookie Ty Chandler, a fifth-round selection. Both are known for their speed and quickness, and are regarded as change-of-pace backs.
One source said the Vikings would have to think long and hard about trading the 5-foot-11, 215-pound Mattison because they like having another physical back in addition to the 5-10, 210-pound Cook. Nwangwu is listed at 6-1, 210 pounds and Chandler at 5-11, 204 pounds.
Cook also has been injury prone in his previous five pro seasons, and Mattison has filled in admirably over the past three. In the four games Cook missed in 2021, Mattison started in his place and rushed for 90 or more yards in three of them.
And if the Vikings were to end up losing Mattison next March in free agency, they would be in line to receive a compensatory pick.
Mattison, selected in the third round of the 2019 draft out of Boise State, has rushed for 1,387 yards in three seasons, including a career-high 491 in 2021. He is on the books to make a base salary of $965,000 in 2022.
Mattison was asked earlier this month if his likely plan will be to test free agency in March with the hope of landing a job as a starting running back.
“I don’t know,” he said. “When we get to that point, we’ll have those thoughts, and I’ll talk to my agent.”
If no deal is made for Mattison by Tuesday, the Vikings likely will have four running backs and fullback C.J. Ham on their 53-man roster. The Vikings usually have kept three running backs on the roster.
In the preseason, Mattison ran six times for 25 yards, Nwangwu 12 times for 59 yards, and Chandler was the team’s leading rusher with 15 carries for 113 yards. Cook sat out all three preseason games. The Vikings were 0-3 in those games.
Another running back on the roster is undrafted rookie Bryant Koback. He could be a candidate for the practice squad.
The Vikings have 75 players on the roster, so they must make at least 22 moves by 3 p.m. Tuesday. On Monday, they cut cornerback Tye Smith, wide receiver Myron Mitchell and tackle Timon Harris, and put wide receiver Bisi Johnson and defensive lineman T.Y. McGill on injured reserve.
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