Former Minnesota Vikings running back cut by the Detroit Lions

ORCHARD PARK, NY - AUGUST 31: Matt Asiata /

Running back Matt Asiata is the latest from the Minnesota Vikings’ 2016 roster to be let go by a new team during the 2017 preseason.

As reported by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, former Minnesota Vikings’ running back Matt Asiata has been released by their divisional rivals the Detriot Lions.

The former undrafted free-agent spent five years playing in purple and gold backing up Adrian Peterson and often gained significant playing time as a beneficiary of injuries and suspension to number 28.

During his time with the Vikings, Asiata constantly split fan opinion. As a running back he certainly had his limitations, but Asiata represented a solid pair of hands in the passing game and he was capable of turning check downs passes into first downs.

Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings /

Minnesota Vikings

As evidenced by his 15 touchdowns across the last three seasons, Asiata had also developed an uncanny ability to punch the ball into the end zone. Despite those traits, Asiata’s appearances were often met with the dismay of watching an athletically-limited player impact the snap count of more talented backs.

With the signing of Latavius Murray in free agency, the Vikings clearly wanted to go in a different direction in the backfield and opted against bringing Asiata back for another season. With a return to Minnesota off the table, Asiata signed a one year $775,000 contract with Detroit .

While his low cap hit would have placed him on the roster bubble immediately, Asiata must have been hopeful of making the Lions’ roster considering that the team lacked a legitimate goal line back and only ranked 27th in yards per carry in 2016.

Perhaps his unwavering loyalty to Minnesota was a contributing factor to Asiata’s preseason not going to plan. He only had 22 carries across three games and averaged a depressing 2.7 yards per attempt, 0.8 yards lower than his career mark. While he wasn’t the only Lions running back to struggle, having just turned 30-years-old,  Detroit clearly felt that their young options possessed a higher ceiling than the plodding Asiata.

Next: Vikings' first roster cuts

Due to the nature of the NFL, Asiata will undoubtedly get snapped up by another team at some point during the 2017 season once injuries start racking up. Touch wood that the Vikings won’t need to enquire about his availability anytime soon, but should the worst happen it shouldn’t surprise anyone if Rick Spielman gives Asiata a call.