NFC North Rival Just Gifted Packers Perfect AJ Dillon Replacement

The Green Bay Packers need a running back, and they were just gifted a good one by an NFC North rival.
Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

It's not often your division rivals do you a favor. When's the last time the Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings or Chicago Bears purposely did anything nice for the Green Bay Packers?

Well, purposeful or not, the Vikings just did Green bay a huge favor ahead of free agency. Running back promises toe be a position of need this offseason with AJ Dillon set to become an unrestricted free agent, and the Vikes released a good one.

Packers Rumors: Alexander Mattison a Perfect Free Agent Fit?

The Minnesota Vikings released running back Alexander Mattison on Monday, and he should immediately be on the Packers' radar.

There seems to be no progress on the Packers and Dillon reaching an extension, and getting into a bidding war for him on the open market isn't a great plan. It's becoming increasingly likely that we'll see him walk. On top of that, Aaron Jones is on the last year of his contract.

Green Bay will almost certainly be adding at least one running back this offseason, and Mattison makes a lot of sense as a fit for that spot.

While he spent most of his early career backing up Dalvin Cook, that means Mattison doesn't have too much wear-and-tear — something that is always a concern for a free agent running back. His 684 career touches over five seasons mean he should have plenty left in the tank for a multi-year deal.

Of course, a multi-year deal only makes sense if he's good enough to warrant one. And he absolutely is.

While his 3.9 yards per carry from 2023 (his only year as a regular starter) might concern you, we all know that you can't just take a stat like that at face value.

Mattison was getting no help from the offense around him, and according to Pro Football Focus (PFF), 2.76 of those 3.9 yards per carry were coming after contact. It's hard to get much going when you're being hit 1 yard past the line of scrimmage on every play, but Mattison still broke off 17 runs of 10-plus yards.

This isn't a franchise-altering splashy move, of course, but adding Mattison could very well be one of those under-the-radar moves that ends up paying dividends down the stretch. The Packers shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth here.

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