Vikings Snap Counts: Mattison takes RB1 role in stride
Once again, Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook was, well, cooking.
The numbers suggested Cook would be slowed by Seattle’s run defense, which hadn’t allowed a running back to top 56 yards through four weeks. That was not the case Sunday night, as Cook scampered for 65 rushing yards and a score on 17 rushing attempts.
However, the only thing that could slow him down was an injury. Cook exited the Vikings’ 27-26 loss to Seattle in the third quarter with what was later reported to be an adductor strain.
Second-year running back Alexander Mattison took over and kept Minnesota’s ground attack rolling. Mattison played in 43 snaps, his most by a long shot. As a rookie last season, Mattison was on the field for 27 plays twice (Week 13 against Seattle and Week 14 against Detroit). The Boise State product’s previous high in 2020 was 19 snaps in Week 1.
The 22-year-old was productive on the field, rushing 20 times for 112 yards (5.6 average) and catching three passes for 24 yards. That means Mattison touched the ball on 53.4% of the plays on the field.
Mattison wasn’t the only one to benefit from Cook’s absence. Mike Boone played his first five offensive snaps of the season (6%) and rushed twice for 19 yards.
Cook’s status for the Vikings’ meeting with the 0-4 Atlanta Falcons is unknown. But what’s very clear? Minnesota will be in good hands with Mattison in the backfield.
Other notes from Sunday’s snap counts:
— The Vikings had five possessions of 11+ plays and ran 87 offensive snaps against the Seahawks. Minnesota’s previous high this season was 66. In Week 1, Minnesota ran just 52.
— Rookie cornerbacks Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler played all 54 defensive snaps. Four other Vikings – safeties Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris, as well as linebackers Eric Wilson and Eric Kendricks, did the same.
— James Lynch, a fourth-round pick out of Baylor, made his NFL debut on Sunday night and recorded his first sack, bringing down Russell Wilson eight yards behind the line of scrimmage. The rookie defensive lineman played just eight total snaps (15%).
— Wide receiver Olabisi Johnson was on the field for a mere eight snaps. He hasn’t played more than 11 snaps since Week 2. Meanwhile, third-year receiver Chad Beebe continues to see the field in the slot. While playing in 31% of the snaps, Beebe was targeted twice and caught one pass for 11 yards. He also returned two punts for a total of seven yards.
— After posting back-to-back 100-yard games against Tennessee and Houston, expectations were high for rookie Justin Jefferson against Seattle’s struggling pass defense. Although Jefferson was on the field for a career-high 70 snaps, he was targeted just five times and caught three passes for 23 yards.
— Even though Irv Smith Jr. had a decent game with four catches for 64 yards, Kyle Rudolph played 64 offensive snaps (74%), which was more than Smith’s 59 snaps (68%).
WEEK 5 — AT SEATTLE (OFFENSE)
WEEK 5 — AT SEATTLE (DEFENSE)