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Mata‘afa waived by Vikings

Lahainaluna grad played sparingly in third NFL season

Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Hercules Mata‘afa is seen during pregame warmups before a game against the Houston Texans on Oct. 4. AP file photo

The Maui News

Hercules Mata’afa’s time in Minnesota is over.

The 2014 Lahainaluna High School graduate was released by the Vikings on Tuesday. As the team parted ways with the third-year defensive tackle, it signed third-year defensive end Jordan Brailford.

Mata’afa signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2018 after a standout career at Washington State University during which he was named the 2017 Pac-12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a redshirt junior.

His first season in Minnesota was wiped out by injury when he suffered a torn ACL. Once he did get back on the field, Mata’afa was unable to crack the rotation. In 2019, he appeared in six games, recording just one tackle and a fumble recovery. He had played in three games this season for the 1-4 Vikings, posting a tackle while playing just 18 defensive snaps, according to the Star Tribune.

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