Alexander Mattison
Can Alexander Mattison hold down the fort if Dalvin Cook decides to sit out games? I’m not sure it’s a gamble the Vikings can afford to take. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Dalvin Cook is officially holding out. At the moment, I remain optimistic since it feels like an Ezekiel Elliott situation. The Cowboys had to pay Zeke because Dak can’t carry the offense. Neither can Kirk Cousins. The new CBA is also so prohibitive for players that sit out that it’s very unlikely he doesn’t play. However, if that were to happen, could Alexander Mattison carry the load?

The good news is it looks like the Vikings hit on the Mattison pick. As a rookie, the former Boise State product averaged 4.62 yards per carry on 100 attempts. That’s pretty damn good. It’s not a great offensive line either. Better yet, Mattison averaged 3.22 yards after contact. That number ranked 15th in the league.

Could Mattison do that over the course of the season? Probably not but at minimum, Mattison proved he can play. The problem is Mattison isn’t Dalvin Cook. What Cook brings to the table that the other backs on the roster can’t is the pass catching ability.

I don’t have the stat for this but it felt like the Vikings dialed up the screen pass almost more than anybody last year. It really bailed out their offense. Cook added 519 receiving yards and 53 receptions and only played in 14 games including 2 that were sparingly low via injury.

Kirk Cousins can’t carry the offense. Dalvin Cook is vital to the Vikings success. He’s one of the few running backs that changes outcomes. They don’t beat New Orleans in the playoffs without him. Kirk Cousins can’t win a Super Bowl but Dalvin Cook and a strong defense can keep this team as serious playoff contenders that is always a tough out.

Alexander Mattison proved he’s capable but he’s not Dalvin Cook. Especially in the screen game. Playing hard ball with Cook is not a gamble the Vikings can afford to take.