Boise State Football

Mattison extends Boise State football’s run of running backs taken in NFL Draft

Boise State has produced 10 straight seasons with a 1,000-yard rusher, and now the Bronco who produced the last two can add another big achievement — NFL Draft pick.

The Minnesota Vikings selected running back Alexander Mattison with the final pick of the third round on Friday night, making him the fourth Boise State back selected since 2012.

“Mom and dad were bawling,” Mattison said in an interview on the Vikings’ web site. “... I’ll never forget this moment.

“I’m super excited to be a Viking. It sounds so surreal coming out of my mouth.”

Mattison (5-foot-11, 221 pounds) rushed for 1,415 yards last season as a junior, scoring 17 touchdowns on the ground. He finished with a flourish, rushing for 999 yards in the final seven games of the season. He opted to forgo his senior year following the end of the 2018 season, finishing his Boise State career with 2,829 yards rushing and 34 touchdowns (one receiving).

Boise State came into the draft as one of only 10 programs that had an early entrant selected in at least five straight years. Mattison made it six drafts in a row.

He also follows running backs Doug Martin (first round, 2012), Jay Ajayi (fifth round, 2015) and Jeremy McNichols (fifth round, 2017) into the NFL.

“We felt Mattison was a unique back and fit all the traits we were looking for ... the workhorse he can be,” Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman told reporters after the selection was made.

The Vikings selected Dalvin Cook in the second round in 2017 out of Florida State, but he has been limited to 14 career games because of injuries. Mattison could provide a bit of thunder to Cook’s lightning, as the Vikings saw power back Latavius Murray sign with the Saints in free agency.

Spielman said the team had little contact with Mattison after the NFL Scouting Combine in early March because he “checked all the boxes” and the team didn’t want to tip its hand with how much interest it had in him.

Boise State has had a player drafted 10 years in a row.

Mattison was projected by most mock drafts to be selected in the final four rounds Saturday, but a much-improved 40-yard dash time at Boise State’s April 2 pro day certainly helped his stock. According to Spotrac, his projected rookie contract will be four years, $3.4 million with a $761,000 signing bonus.

Boise State picks in recent drafts


Alexander Mattison, RB, 3rd round (102nd overall), Vikings*


Leighton Vander Esch, LB, 1st round (19th overall), Cowboys*

Cedrick Wilson, WR, 6th round (208th overall), Cowboys


Jeremy McNichols, RB, 5th round (162nd overall), Buccaneers*

Tanner Vallejo, LB, 6th round (195th overall), Bills


Kamalei Correa, DE/LB, 2nd round (42nd overall), Ravens*

Darian Thompson, S, 3rd round (71st overall), Giants

Rees Odhiambo, OL, 3rd round (97th overall), Seahawks


Jay Ajayi, RB, 5th round (149th overall), Dolphins*


DeMarcus Lawrence, DE, 2nd round (34th), Cowboys*

Matt Paradis, C, 6th round (207th), Broncos

Charles Leno Jr., OL, 7th round (246th), Bears

*-early entrant

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Dave Southorn is a 2004 graduate from the University of Colorado. He has covered Boise State athletics since 2005, and worked at the Idaho Statesman since 2013. He’s won multiple Idaho Press Club awards and once won a contest designing a play for the Seattle Seahawks.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.