Vikings' Alexander Mattison informed he'll be cut, source says

Who will replace Alexander Mattison as Vikings' lead RB? (0:55)

Kevin Seifert examines what's next for the Vikings after parting ways with Alexander Mattison. (0:55)

Running back Alexander Mattison's time with the Minnesota Vikings came to an abrupt conclusion Thursday, when the team indicated its plans to release him after five seasons on its roster, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The decision capped a disappointing year after Mattison failed to hold down the starting job following the departure of longtime lead back Dalvin Cook. The move will save the Vikings $3.35 million against their 2024 cap. Had he remained on the roster past March 15, Mattison would have had $2.75 million guaranteed for the 2024 season.

The Vikings' third-round draft pick in 2019, Mattison spent four seasons as Cook's backup before signing a two-year contract worth up to $7 million in March 2023. The Vikings released Cook later that spring and elevated Mattison, hoping he could provide strong inside running even if he couldn't match Cook's explosiveness.

Mattison started 13 games but managed only 700 rushing yards. None of his 180 carries went for longer than 21 yards, and while he caught three receiving touchdowns, he did not score on the ground. The Vikings acquired veteran Cam Akers from the Los Angeles Rams after two games and were increasing his workload on a weekly basis before he tore an Achilles tendon on Nov. 5. Ultimately, second-year runner Ty Chandler replaced Mattison in the starting lineup for the final four games of the regular season.

Speaking earlier this week about the team's backfield, coach Kevin O'Connell mentioned Chandler prominently but said that Mattison had contributed in ways that would not be captured by statistics. Still, the Vikings are likely to seek additional depth at the position in free agency and perhaps the draft as well.

"I think the way Ty finished the season was a real positive," O'Connell said, "and going Year 2 into Year 3, there will be a huge opportunity for him to continue his growth. Thought Alex did some good things in our system, ran hard, ran physical. As you go through the cutup evaluation process after the season, you can really kind of gauge things that worked well, things that didn't, things you need to improve on, things that I can do better as a coach.

"But then you see some of the individual performances that maybe don't always jump out on the stat sheet, but it was critical play here and there and then we've got some young players in the room as well. So it's always a position that I think, whether 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 are able to do and more importantly hopefully what we can build on from there, specifically with Ty towards the end of the season, I thought seeing him really come on there and really start to assert himself was a real positive for our team."

In his five seasons with the Vikings, Mattison averaged 4.1 yards per carry while rushing for 2,370 yards on 584 attempts, with 11 touchdowns. He also caught 100 passes for 718 yards and another six scores.