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Vikings release Alexander Mattison to free up more than $3 million in cap space.

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The Minnesota Vikings have decided to release running back Alexander Mattison, as reported on Thursday. This move comes after Mattison’s tenure as the team’s starter in 2023 didn’t meet expectations, leading to his free agency for the second consecutive year. By releasing Mattison, the Vikings have created $3.35 million in cap space, although they will incur $1.25 million in dead money.

Mattison had $2.75 million in guarantees set to vest in two weeks, making this move somewhat unexpected but not entirely surprising. Last offseason, he signed a two-year, $7 million contract with the Vikings after his rookie deal expired. With the departure of Dalvin Cook, Mattison had the opportunity to step up as the RB1 but was unable to seize the chance.

His 2023 season was marked by disappointment, characterized by key fumbles, zero rushing touchdowns, and losing his starting job in mid-December. Mattison’s performance included 180 carries for 700 yards, making him just the second player since 2003 with that many carries and no rushing touchdowns, although he did contribute three receiving scores.

Consistently averaging fewer than four yards per carry for the third consecutive season, Mattison received a PFF grade of 61.8, ranking 34th out of 35 backs with at least 150 carries last season. His fumbles in critical moments against the Eagles and Broncos contributed to close losses.

Ty Chandler, who emerged in the latter part of the season, is considered the frontrunner to assume the RB1 role in 2024. Additionally, the return of restricted free agent Cam Akers, who suffered an Achilles injury in November, remains uncertain. The Vikings are expected to add at least one running back to the roster, given the current options of Kene Nwangwu, Myles Gaskin, and DeWayne McBride.

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