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Broncos free agency target: Alexander Mattison

Known primarily for being the backup to Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison could be the answer to carry a heavier load for the Denver Broncos

NFL: New York Jets at Minnesota Vikings Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos are going to need help in the backfield for the 2023 season. Period.

The turnover-prone Melvin Gordon is gone, third-year back is coming off a catastrophic knee injury that makes his status and potential to return to form foggy at best, and no one should expect much from Chase Edmonds.

The team could turn to the draft, where they could take their chances on landing a third-round steal (or later), or they could turn to the free agent market, where there will be more available talent than there has been in several years.

While there had been big names available, like Josh Jacobs and Saquon Barkley, both of whom have been franchise tagged, there are other players, the “guy behind the guy” types, to steal a line from Swingers, who could be just as effective for a much more cap-friendly cost.

Alexander Mattison, who has been the guy behind Dalvin Cook on the Minnesota Vikings since 2019, may be that guy.

Mattison made a name for himself at Boise State from 2016-2018, where he quickly became one of the team’s and conference’s most dangerous offensive weapons, capping off his three-year collegiate career with a first-team All-Conference selection and being named MVP of the 2018 Mountain West Conference Championship game.

He would ultimately decide to forgo his senior season and enter the 2019 NFL Draft and was quoted as saying, “You can only play as long as your body lets you, and at this position, you can’t assume it’ll last forever.”

That’s a mentality that may serve him well this offseason.

Drafted 102nd overall by the Minnesota Vikings (a year where one George Paton was in the front office) in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. While it may be any player’s dream to be drafted, it may sour the moment being drafted by a team who already has a star at the position said player is meant to play; in this case, Dalvin Cook.

Mattison, though, maybe more known to fantasy football owners than casual fans, always capitalized on the opportunities given to him when his name was called, most of which came when Cook was injured.

In his four years in Minnesota he’s rushed 404 times for 1,670 yards, and 11 touchdowns at an average of 4.1 yards per carry. Not bad. When he has been given 10 or more carries a game, he has rushed 222 times for 958 yards, and six touchdowns at 4.3 yards per carry. Not bad at all.

This is a guy who is still young at just 24 years old, who has a small amount of mileage on his legs, and who has capitalized on the opportunities given to him, showing the potential to be a primary back in the league.

And oh yes, it does help that the general manager of the Broncos was on the Vikings’ front office team that drafted Mattison in 2019. Food for thought.

Is this the guy who will be #1 on the Broncos backfield free agent wish list? Likely not. Guys like David Montgomery and Kareem Hunt will certainly be among the hottest free agents back who won’t cost a team like Jacobs or Barkley would.

Yet, for a team who needs a burst of energy in the backfield, where snaps are going to be available to multiple backs, Mattison has a profile that would seemingly fit what the Broncos, George Paton, and Sean Payton could be seeking.


Should the Broncos try to sign Alexander Mattison?

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