Questions Answered: The New Defensive Coordinator, Alexander Mattison, Cousins Extension?

Vikings Beat the Bears, Win 13th Game of the Season
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) greets fans after the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The following questions are about current Minnesota Vikings topics, answered by PurplePTSD. Today is the January 19th edition, addressed in a from-the-hip fashion. If you have questions, please email them to [email protected].

Also, please note: These are opinion-based responses. Some answers will be incorrect from time to time. But we’ll try to keep that to a minimum.

Questions Answered: The New Defensive Coordinator, Alexander Mattison, Cousins Extension?

Q: Who do you want to replace Ed Donatell as the Vikings new defensive coordinator?

Defensive Coordinator
Jan 9, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores watches from the sideline during the second quarter of the game against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

A: We’d like Brian Flores but aren’t sure if that’s 100% realistic at this point.

Flores has already begun interviewing for defensive coordinator gigs, so the Vikings could be late to the party. Kevin O’Connell may also hire an old pal from the Los Angeles Rams days, like Jonathan Cooley or Eric Henderson.

The lesson of the day is that the Vikings weren’t content with Donatell’s “bend but don’t break” philosophy, and it’s encouraging that they didn’t let “13 wins” cloud their judgment.

Q: Any chance the Vikings cut Dalvin Cook but keep Alexander Mattison?

Oct 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) celebrates a first down against the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

A: Mattison would be a decent option if Minnesota indeed trades or releases Dalvin Cook. But Mattison also has one big shot at getting a large-ish contract and could command more money on the open market than the Vikings wish to pay.

Minnesota has two running backs on roster after Cook and Mattison — Ty Chandler and Kene Nwangwu. We might be heading toward an era of “running back by committee,” as the analytics-focused general manager, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, might not believe in the efficacy of paying running backs the big bucks.

We’ll say “no” on the Mattison-instead-Cook prediction.

Q: The rumor mill says Kirk Cousins will be extended once again. Is the rumor mill correct?

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Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) runs with the ball against the Buffalo Bills during second half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports.

A: The rumor mill is probably correct.

If the Vikings want to start a new era at quarterback, it would likely involve drafting a quarterback in the 2023 or 2024 NFL Draft. Minnesota has the 23rd overall pick, and a Week 1 starter may not be obtainable at that spot.

Therefore, to remain competitive, Cousins is probably the best shot for 2023 and possibly 2024. It would also be nice to see Cousins inside an O’Connell offense — with a defense that isn’t lousy.

Cousins will be back in 2023. You should plan on it. The extension is a little more mysterious.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).