Vikings release RB Alexander Mattison after 5 seasons

Alexander Mattison #2 of the Minnesota Vikings scores a touchdown in the touchdown in the second quarter of a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on January 08, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois.  ((Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images))

When the Minnesota Vikings open the 2024 regular season, they’ll have a new lead running back.

According to multiple reports, the Vikings on Thursday informed Alexander Mattison he’s being released when the league year starts in March. The Vikings brought Mattison back from free agency this past season on a two-year contract worth up to $7 million.

Mattison ran for 700 yards this past season, averaging nearly four yards per carry, but didn’t score a single touchdown in 16 games and 13 starts. Mattison caught 30 passes for 192 yards and three touchdowns.

It’s the first significant move the Vikings are making this offseason, with decisions pending on Kirk Cousins, Danielle Hunter and a possible contract extension for star receiver Justin Jefferson. The Vikings reportedly save about $2.75 million against the salary cap by releasing Mattison.

The Vikings drafted Mattison out of Boise State in the third round, No. 102 overall. As the back-up to Dalvin Cook in 2022, Mattison ran for 283 yards and five touchdowns.

The remaining running backs on the roster include Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu, Myles Gaskin, DeWayne McBride and Cam Akers, who will be coming off a torn Achilles. The Vikings could seek another running back in free agency, or via the NFL Draft.