3 perfect trade destinations for Minnesota Vikings RB Alexander Mattison

By Andrew Buller-Russ
Oct 24, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (25) runs with the ball in the fourth quarter against the Washington Redskins at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

While there have not been many rumors of Alexander Mattison being available in a potential trade, he is certainly a player many teams should be interested in. If the Minnesota Vikings wanted to get creative, they could entertain dealing him away since he is not paramount to the team’s success. 

Pro Bowl tailback Dalvin Cook is locked up through the 2025 season, so he’s not going anywhere any time soon. Mike Boone is set to be a restricted free agent and would be a plenty capable backup should Mattison leave town.

As a running back who has star potential, Mattison could likely fetch a mid-round pick or two, and Peter King even floated him as a potential trade chip if Minnesota were to hypothetically pursue a blockbuster Deshaun Watson swap.

Should the Vikings desire to move up in the draft or trade for a player that better suits their needs, Mattison could be sent packing.

Alexander Mattison’s 3 most ideal trade destinations

Miami Dolphins reel in a starting running back

Alexander Mattison to Miami Dolphins
Jan 3, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) hands the ball off to running back Myles Gaskin (37) against the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins Alexander Mattison trade offer: WR/KR Jakeem Grant and 2021 6th-round pick

Struggling to come up with big gains on the ground, the Dolphins’ longest rush was just 31 yards out of 428 attempts. In other words, the longest rushing play Miami had ranked last in the NFL, giving teams little reason to worry about their ground game, which was of no help to rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

A trade for Mattison wouldn’t quite give Miami a player with breakaway speed, but he could provide a boost to the backfield given that he had a better yards per carry average than any ‘Fins starting back in 2020. Just 23 years old when the 2021 season rolls around, Mattison likely has yet to reach his full potential in the NFL.

Dolphins’ RB coach, Eric Studesville has ties to both Gary and Klint Kubiak dating back to their days together with the Denver Broncos. It’s not unreasonable to think they have discussed how Mattison may fit in with the offense down in Miami.

After struggling mightily in 2020, improving the special teams unit will be a priority entering the offseason. If the Vikings could pry away Jakeem Grant from the Dolphins in a trade, that would be a huge win. As a lightning-quick returner, Grant has five punt or kick return touchdowns since entering the league in 2016. 

Read More: Miami Dolphins draft picks: Top 2021 selections, ideal prospects to target

New York Jets break in a fresh workhorse for new scheme

Alexander Mattison to New York Jets
Oct 18, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (25) in action during the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Atlanta Falcons at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Jets Alexander Mattison trade offer: WR Jamison Crowder and 2021 5th-round pick; 2022 6th-round pick

The New York Jets had a lot of trouble getting the ball in the end zone last season so it’s no surprise to see that they scored just nine rushing touchdowns, tying for last place among 32 teams. An Alexander Mattison trade could inject a bruising back with impressive athleticism into an offense desperate for playmakers.

One strong argument against a NY Jets trade for Mattison is that they drafted La’Mical Perine in the 4th round in 2020. Though he failed to impress as a rookie, Perine has nearly identical combine measurements as Mattison. The organization may be after a quicker back to complement Perine if he remains a part of their plans.

Acquiring Crowder for the Vikings gives them a receiver fully capable of filling the third role behind stars Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen and should showcase him well amid a contract year. Not only that, Kirk Cousins and Crowder were teammates in Washington from 2015-2017. In that time, Cousins completed 192 passes to Crowder totaling 2,240 yards, averaging just under 750 yards per year.

Entering the last season of a 3-year, $28.5 million deal, general manager Rick Spielman would need to address Crowder’s contract before taking on the $11 million cap hit in 2021 under the Vikings’ tight budget. After some struggles with the Jets, it’s possible he would welcome a new situation with the Vikes, taking less money in the process. Crowder would likely have a tough time earning that much as a free agent and he may be eager to reunite with Cousins again.

Read More: New York Jets draft picks: Top 2021 selections, ideal prospects to target

Pittsburgh Steelers find affordable back to bolster DFL rushing attack

Alexander Mattison to Pittsburgh Steelers
Nov 22, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton (52) and defensive end Dawuane Smoot (94) combine to bring down Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (30) during the second quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
  • Steelers Alexander Mattison trade offer: 2021 3rd-round pick and 6th-round pick

It seems strange to even type with their legendary history, but the Pittsburgh Steelers finished the 2020 season with over 100 fewer rushing yards than any other team. Obviously, that needs to change. It would surprise no one to see the Steelers investing a little more into the position that has brought the Steel City so much glory over the years. 

Unfortunately, Pittsburgh is limited by their cap constraints and will have to get creative in lowering Ben Roethlisberger’s cap hit. Thus, finding an affordable running back on his rookie contract could be appealing.

Alexander Mattison has shown a lot of skill in his limited action with the Vikings. As a player with a physical, yet athletic running style, he would fit right in along the Steel City’s long line of tough running backs such as Jerome Bettis and Franco Harris.

If the Vikings moved on from either Mattison or Boone, Vikings GM Rick Spielman would then have to pull the trigger on a running back in the draft. If Boone is brought back, a rookie likely wouldn’t be asked to play much right away, if at all.

A Mattison trade would allow the Vikes to pull from a strong area of depth to address the roster’s other positional needs. While it may come back to bite them if there are injury issues at the RB spot, it could lead to a key position being filled elsewhere on the team. It’s a risk the Vikings may be willing to take.

Read More: Pittsburgh Steelers president gives Ben Roethlisberger contract ultimatum