Vikings agree to terms with RB Alexander Mattison; what does it mean for Dalvin Cook?

Alexander Mattison #2 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the New York Jets at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 04, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  ((Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images))

The Minnesota Vikings made their latest move in NFL free agency late Wednesday night, and it leaves just as many questions as it does answers when it pertains to the running back room.

The Vikings announced they’ve agreed to terms with Alexander Mattison. The third round draft choice in 2019 out of Boise State has been the back-up to Dalvin Cook as he enters his fifth season with the Vikings. In 59 career games and six starts, Mattison has 404 carries for 1,670 yards and 11 touchdowns.

He also has 70 receptions for 5267 yards and three touchdowns. Last season, Mattison had a career-high five rushing touchdowns and recorded his third career 100-yard game.

Mattison could’ve signed with another team in free agency to take a lead role elsewhere, but is back with the Vikings. He also could be the Vikings No. 1 running back in 2023, depending on what they do with Cook, who is due to cost the Vikings $14.1 million against the salary cap this season.

Multiple reports have suggested Cook is not interested in restructuring his contract to take a pay cut. The Vikings are up tight against the salary cap, and Cook has been the subject of trade rumors. Cook played in 17 games for the first time in his career in 2022, and ran for 1,173 yards and eight touchdowns.

Is Mattison ready for a starting role? That's a question for Kevin O'Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to answer. It became slightly more complicated Wednesday, after the Dallas Cowboys release Ezekiel Elliott.

Bringing Mattison back suggests Cook’s days with the Vikings might be numbered. We’ll know by Friday, as that’s when $2 million of his 2023 salary becomes guaranteed. He said after the season his future is between the Vikings and his agent.