Dalvin Cook is gone, but Alexander Mattison has also been a Detroit Lions killer when he's had a chance to be the Vikings' lead back.
A culmination of many months of speculation, the Minnesota Vikings officially released running back Dalvin Cook on Friday. In eight career games against the Detroit Lions, Cook has averaged over 112 total yards with eight rushing touchdowns while averaging 5.6 yards per carry.
Now you might be saying, didn't Cook play six seasons for the Vikings? But he only played eight games against the Lions? The 2022 season was the first time Cook played every game in a season.
In the wake of Cook's release, Alexander Mattison is lined up to be the Vikings' new No. 1 back. A workhorse role is his, and the Vikings hinted at their plan by bringing him back on a two-year deal this offseason.
Alexander Mattison has been a Detroit Lions killer when he's had the opportunity
Mattison was drafted two years after Cook (2019), but he also has eight career games against the Lions. He started three of those games, over the 2020 and 2021 seasons, and here are his stat lines from those games that Cook missed.
2020, Week 17: 21 carries for 95 yards, one touchdown; three receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown
2021, Week 5: 25 carries for 113 yards; seven receptions for 40 yards and a touchdown
20021, Week 13; 22 carries for 90 yards, one touchdown; three receptions for 34 yards
In Week 13 of the 2019 season against the Lions, Mattison posted 64 total yards on 16 touches (14 carries for 46 yards). In Week 6 of 2020 against the Lions, playing just 16 snaps behind Cook, Mattison had 12 carries for 69 yards. In Week 3 last season against the Lions, he had a rushing touchdown among his seven carries for 28 yards as he also had one catch for 16 yards.
Smaller samples, and still some level of noticeable success against the Lions.
It's safe to assume the Lions' defense will be better this season. But as good as Cook was against them during his tenure as a Viking, it can be argued Mattison has been just as good or better when he's had a chance. And now that chance will not be impacted by Cook's presence.