Former Boise State running back is staying with Vikings as they commit to ground game

Andy Clayton-King/AP

Former Boise State running back Alexander Mattison is staying in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Vikings have signed Mattison to a new two-year deal worth $7 million, according to the Star Tribune.

Mattison, 24, has spent the past four seasons as Dalvin Cook’s backup. It looked like he was going to hit the market this year as a free agent in search of an opportunity to be a starter, especially after posting career-lows in carries (74) and rushing yards (283) last season.

Instead, Mattison said he’ll continue to build his legacy with the Vikings.

“I’m chasing greatness and however that plays out, I’m open to it,” Mattison told the Idaho Statesman. “I’m really blessed to be in the position I’m in. I love the Vikings, I love my teammates and I would love it if I could be a lifelong Viking.”

Mattison’s return is part of new Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell’s commitment to improving the running game. Minnesota averaged 97.7 rushing yards a game last season, tying the Los Angeles Rams for No. 27 in the NFL.

“When we run the football better, hopefully we can give ourselves a lot more friendly circumstances to try to attack,” O’Connell told the Star Tribune.

Mattison’s new contract could also mean the end of Cook’s time in Minnesota. He’ll account for $14.1 million of the Vikings’ salary cap this year, according to The team has yet to announce whether it will retain the injury-prone 27-year-old running back or try to trade him. Cook was healthy enough to play in every game for the first time in his career last season.

Mattison, a third-round pick in the 2019 draft, played in every game last season and posted a career-high five rushing touchdowns despite his limited carries. He has racked up 1,670 yards and 11 touchdowns during his NFL career.

The native of San Bernardino, California, played at Boise State from 2016 to 2018 and finished his college career with 2,829 yards and 33 touchdowns on the ground.