Vikings Coach Sends Stern Message To Alexander Mattison

Alexander Mattison, Vikings
NFL Analysis Network

The Minnesota Vikings have a lot of issues to work out early in the 2023 season. They are currently 0-3 and have a lot of holes to plug. Defensively, the team is generating no pressure despite blitzing at an eye-popping rate, which has led to opponents picking them apart through the air.

The offense, led by Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson and T.J. Hockenson, has done what it can to put the team in a position to succeed. But, they have fallen just short. Alas, things aren’t perfect on that side of the ball either.

The Vikings have had a fumbling problem through the first three games. They have lost seven fumbles thus far, which is easily last in the NFL. It is something that head coach Kevin O’Connell is determined to have the team fix, as jobs are on the line if the ball cannot be held onto.

“That’s something we’re going to fix one way or another. Either guys are going to do it or we’re going to have to put other guys in the game that have ball security,” O’Connell said on Monday.

The Vikings opened and closed their Week 3 game against the Los Angeles Chargers with fumbles. Turnovers are tough to overcome, especially when your defense struggles as much as Minnesota’s unit has.

One player who has been directly put on notice by O’Connell’s words is running back Alexander Mattison. He has put the ball on the ground four times in the last two games, which has certainly drawn the ire of the coaching staff.

“I thought there was some other times where forward progress and things,” O’Connell said, “but we need to end every snap with the football in our hands. And that’s going to be continued urgency and emphasis like it was last week and we’re going to continue to do it and do it differently and emphasize it different ways until that value is received. Because that is a losing formula, as we’ve seen being where we’re at in the turnover differential now.”

There was some pressure on Mattison coming into the season as he was replacing Dalvin Cook as the team’s starting running back. That pressure has only increased after the Vikings acquired Cam Akers from the Los Angeles Rams in a trade.

Mattison responded well to the acquisition, putting together his best game of the season against the Chargers. He ran the ball 20 times for 93 yards, adding five receptions for 32 yards.

But, he needs to work on his fumbling issues. If he continues putting the ball on the ground, the Vikings will turn to Akers, who they acquired for a reason from the Rams.

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