Vikings Begin Free Agency with Mini-Bombshell

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There was no massive financial upside, but the Minnesota Vikings did it anyway.

Vikings Begin Free Agency with Mini-Bombshell

After five faithful seasons, Minnesota will reportedly cut ties with Alexander Mattison, just a week and a half before free agency, the latest evidence supporting general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s head-to-toe roster overhaul since he arrived in 2022.

Vikings Begin Free
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ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted, “Vikings informed RB Alexander Mattison today that they are releasing him, per source. Mattison took over last season for Dalvin Cook and ran for 700 yards and caught 30 passes. Now he becomes a free agent again, like last year when he signed a two-year deal with Minnesota.”

The move trims the Vikings’ running back room to four men under contract heading into free agency:

  • Ty Chandler
  • Kene Nwangwu
  • DeWayne McBride
  • Myles Gaskin

Releasing Mattison all but guarantees Minnesota will pursue a free-agent tailback in less than two weeks or draft one in eight.

Starters in 2023
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Mattison struggled mightily in one audition as RB1. The team tabbed him as the lead guy entering 2023, and the experiment undeniably flopped. Mattison tabulated 180 carries for 700 yards and zero touchdowns. The veteran runner was injured in November, and second-year halfback Ty Chandler took over, immediately providing more burst and production, seeming to solidify an enhanced role in 2024. We shall see.

Head coach Kevin O’Connell said Tuesday at the NFL Combine about possibly adding new blood to his RB room, “I think it’s always a position that I think, whether in free agency or the draft, you’re looking to continue to infuse talent and different skill sets into that room but I feel good about what those guys were able to do, and more importantly, hopefully, what we can build on from there specifically with Ty towards the end of the season.”

Vikings Playmaker Listed
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Those comments made it sound like a new running back was on the way, and Mattison’s release all but seals the deal.

Before 2023, Mattison was quite impressive in the Vikings’ offense, serving as a dependable RB2 behind Dalvin Cook for four seasons. In fact, when Cook would miss time, Vikings fans were never too apprehensive about Mattison taking over for a game or two. He’s a wonderful dude, on the whole, and Vikings faithful should remember Mattison fondly.

Via free agency, Minnesota has several options for Mattison’s replacement:

  • Saquon Barkley
  • JK Dobbins
  • Austin Ekeler
  • Antonio Gibson
  • Derrick Henry
  • Josh Jacobs
  • Zack Moss
  • Tony Pollard
  • D’Andre Swift
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And via the draft:

  • Jonathon Brooks (Texas)
  • Blake Corum (Michigan)
  • Trey Benson (Florida State)
  • TreVeyon Henderson (Ohio State)
  • MarShawn Lloyd (USC)
  • Bucky Irving (Oregon)
  • Braelon Allen (Wisconsin)

Mattison, oddly, is younger than the aforementioned Chandler despite joining the NFL three years prior. He’ll turn 26 in June. Expect a team like the Cleveland Browns to explore his free agency, as Mattison crossed paths with Kevin Stefanski in 2019, Minnesota’s offensive coordinator at the time, who now head coaches the Browns.

The move saves the Vikings $2.75 million.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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