5 most surprising cuts the Minnesota Vikings made in 2021

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Ameer Abdullah
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Ameer Abdullah /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Hercules Mata’afa /

Hercules Mata’afa – DT

Hercules Mata’afa was always seen as a bubble guy. He’s been on and off the roster since he joined the team back in 2018 as an undrafted free agent.

He’s worked hard to make the team in the past and actually had a pretty solid preseason. He was in the backfield plenty and even notched a sack. But cracking this extremely deep defensive line proved to be too much and the team went in a different direction.

The direction they went was quite odd though. Somehow, Jalyn Holmes made the roster this year. Holmes can play defensive tackle or end, but he’s never really done either one very well. He has just one career sack and 43 tackles in 25 career games.

Mata’afa, on the other hand, has 2.5 career sacks and 25 tackles in 19 games. He is a much more versatile player who can play tackle, end, or even linebacker. He outplayed Holmes this preseason, so if the Vikings had to keep one of these guys, it was a little eyebrow-raising that they chose Holmes.

Mata’afa could return on the practice squad and be called up at some point down the road if this defensive line gets hit by injuries. Or maybe he will say enough is enough and look to catch on and make an impact with a new team in a new city.