Alexander Mattison
Alexander Mattison is more than capable of filling in as the starting running back for the Vikings. Mattison is far from being a scrub. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

It looks all but certain that Alexander Mattison will get the start this week against the Falcons, as Dalvin Cook deals with a minor groin injury that will likely keep him out a week or two. Please make no mistake about it; Mattison is more than capable of filling in as the Vikings starter.

By no means am I saying that Mattison is on Cook’s level. However, the former middle-round pick from Boise State is a damn good football player. Mattison is averaging 5.0 yards per carry and 4.7 for his career. On the season, mostly in a part-time role, Mattison has 44 carries for 219 yards and a score. Where do I sign?

Twenty-seven of Mattison’s 162 career touches have gone for ten plus yards. That’s a 16.6% clip, which is 0.2% higher than Cook’s. Mattison has done so in a much shorter sample size. The point is, the dude can play.

Cook was asked recently if he sees any of his traits in Mattison:

“He might be me, I don’t know,” Cook said, laughing. “I try to give Deuce as many tips and everything I can. He sees the field how I see the field. It’s crazy when we come off the field how we see things so similar. He’s just a bigger version. When he comes in, he’s trying to break the home run, too.

“I do think Deuce is a similar version of me.”

Mattison has excellent vision and runs HARD. Any time he’s been asked to carry the rock, Mattison has gotten the job done. He’s starting to prove to be one of the more capable backup running backs in the league.

There’s another added layer to this. Dalvin Cook has been hurt a lot. If you’re a Cook fantasy owner and you don’t own Mattison, shame on you. Cook has missed 19 games during his first three years in the NFL. This Sunday will mark his 20th missed game. Mattison is suddenly more important than you may imagine.

This isn’t meant to disparage Cook. There’s no question that he’s been the league’s best running back to this point. Mattison is more than capable. It also doesn’t hurt to have Gary Kubiak scheming things up. Mattison will be more than adequate during the two or three-week stretches Cook misses every year.