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Cleveland Answers Mattison's Puzzle with 'Star Wars' LEGO Snapchat

Alexander Mattison proudly sent a Snapchat video of a jigsaw puzzle to Ezra Cleveland.

The quick clip showed progress that Mattison and his girlfriend had made on the puzzle during the stay-at-home order due to COVID-19.

It didn't take long for Cleveland to send a message in return.

Image from iOS

"He Snaps me back, like, a whole LEGO Star Wars [model]," said Mattison, a 2019 third-round pick. "And I'm like, 'OK, Ezra, you [had to] just one-up me.' "

The former Boise State teammates will once again share a locker room after the Vikings drafted Cleveland 58th overall in April. The duo connected recently with Vikings Entertainment Network producer Gabe Henderson and talked about the virtual offseason program and how they're each navigating unique circumstances during the coronavirus pandemic.

And as he showed in his Snapchat video to Mattison, LEGOs are Cleveland's jam.

"I remember before everything started … me and my roommates picked up ultimate frisbee to stay in shape, and I think I ended up buying four frisbees [online] just to see which ones flew better and everything like that," Cleveland said. "And then once that kind of settled down, me and the same roommate got big into LEGOs. So we started buying LEGO Star Wars sets and building LEGOs in our free time, you know, keep the mind busy – it's kind of like doing a puzzle.

"It's fun to do, and then you have a fun ship to play with afterwards," he said. "It's a positive any way you look at it. We were both really into LEGOs when we were little, so it was kind of just getting back into what we were doing when we were children."


In addition to Mattison's jigsaw puzzles, the Vikings running back said he's "been dipping into every" hobby during the shutdown.

From taking online classes to setting up a home studio and playing his saxophone, Mattison has found creative ways to keep himself busy.

"I've become more versatile than I've ever been in my life," he said. "I've been doing a lot of things."

Although Cleveland and Mattison currently only "see" each other through the Vikings virtual offensive meetings, they're looking forward to reuniting when they're able.

View the sketch of Vikings second round draft pick T Ezra Cleveland who was transformed into a caricature by local artist Erik Roadfeldt.

The night that Minnesota drafted Cleveland, Mattison said he screamed in excitement.

"It was one of those moments where you kind of get taken back … and it felt like draft day all over again," Mattison recalled. "Texting Ezra the whole time going, 'We can get you right here. Hopefully we can trade and get you right here.' We were trying to play the cards just because, you know, it's one of those situations.

"Either way, I was super pumped because I knew it was his time, and even some of our other brothers who got drafted, all of us were super connected in that moment," Mattison continued. "And when we drafted him, I'm pretty sure the neighbors heard me – that's how crazy it was in here."

Cleveland and Mattison aren't the only college teammates who will celebrate a reunion in Minnesota. Other alma maters are represented multiple times on the Vikings roster, including five former Oregon Ducks.

In December 2017, Boise State defeated Oregon 38-28 in the Las Vegas Bowl – and don't think for a second that the rivalry is dead.

But Mattison assured that it's "all fun and games" when the bowl game comes up in the locker room.

"[Former Ducks receiver] Dillon Mitchell, we joked about it," Mattison said.

"It's one of those things where even with Dalvin [Cook], this year [Boise State] played Florida State," he added. "Now I have a little bit of backup. Ezra can come in and talk with me."

Until then, the teammates are working hard to stay in shape and up-to-speed.

Mattison and Cleveland both said the virtual offseason program has been "pretty smooth" despite the inability to be on the field. While Mattison has one season of the Vikings offense under his belt, Cleveland is learning the playbook; he said coaches are "doing a great job" conveying everything the team – and especially rookies and new players – need to know.

The lineman explained that he's able to practice his footwork and techniques at home and has been running and strength-training regularly.

"And fortunately, I've got a mom that really wants me to eat right, so she's helping me with that," Cleveland said. "She's meal-prepping for me so I can keep the weight on, stay healthy and stay in shape."