Vikings Release Veteran RB Ahead of 2023 Season

Kevin O'Connell, Vikings

Getty Head coach Kevin O'Connell of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings released Myles Gaskin just two days before the 2023 season opener — although it’s not a farewell to the veteran running back.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert confirmed that Gaskin was released on Friday, September 8, but the Vikings intend to re-sign Gaskin to the practice squad and make him a gameday elevation for Sunday’s opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“It’s a procedural move, and he’s not going anywhere,” Seifert said. “He would revert to the practice squad tomorrow (Saturday) and be elevated to the active roster for Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers.”

Gaskin was signed on August 30 in light of Kene Nwangwu landing on the injured reserve list. Nwanguw is required to sit out at least the first four games of the season, which should give Gaskin some tread in the first month of the schedule.

Cap Analyst Reveals Vikings’ Money-Saving Measure Behind Myles Gaskin’s Release

Myles Gaskin

Courtesy of VikingsMyles Gaskin of the Minnesota Vikings

Why all the movement just to result in the same outcome of Gaskin dressing on Sunday?

Over The Cap analyst Jason Fitzgerald said it’s a means of avoiding Gaskin’s salary from fully guaranteeing by removing him from the active roster ahead of Week 1.

“Often you will see NFL teams release lower cost veterans today or tomorrow to avoid having their salaries become guaranteed for the year,” Fitzgerald posted on X. “Vets on the 53 man on Sunday have their salary guaranteed for the year. Those who sign after this week only get a portion (35%) guaranteed.”

Under the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), Gaskin was due a guaranteed $1.08 million salary as a vested veteran minimum when he signed with the Vikings.

By removing Gaskin from the 53-man roster ahead of the season opener, the Vikings should have the chance of re-signing Gaskin for $378,000, per Fitzgerald.

 Alexander Mattison Ready for Opportunity as Vikings RB1

When the Vikings re-signed Alexander Mattison to a two-year, $8 million deal in March, the writing was on the wall for his running mate Dalvin Cook.

“He called me [March 16] after the news broke,” Mattison said of Cook in a September 8 Star Tribune article. “We talked and he knew what it was going to be. He said, ‘If they were going to make anyone come in and fill my shoes, then I’m glad and honored that it’s you.’ He passed me the keys, and it was one of those moments we’d been talking about for four years.”

Mattison embarks on the first season of his career where he assumes lead-back duties for the Vikings. Minnesota released Cook in June to move on from his $14.1 million cap hit —  a trend that has followed around the league as many of the top running backs found themselves in contract disputes this season.

While Mattison can’t change how the business of the NFL works, he’s eager to prove his worth and show how valuable a running back can be to an NFL offense.

“I see it as a great opportunity to go out there and be one of the backs in this league that can prove a point,” he said. “Not only to myself, not only to the people that believe in me and trust me, but with the way this market is set — these owners, GMs, [for them] to see the value of the running back position.”

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