Former Vikings Offensive Lineman Let Go by Steelers

Aug 19, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; A Pittsburgh Steelers helmet sits on the sidelines against the Buffalo Bills at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings have a few positions of need in 2024. Among the most pressing of these needs lies along the offensive line.

Currently, Minnesota employs seven offensive linemen on their roster and have a number of contributors set to hit free agency, including starting LG Dalton Risner. If Minnesota turns to free agency in order to fill these needs, it now could involve a reunion with former Vikings offensive lineman Mason Cole, who was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday.

Former Vikings Offensive Lineman Is a Free Agent

Offensive Lineman
Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings center Garrett Bradbury (56) and center Mason Cole. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the news on Friday afternoon, tweeting, “Steelers released their former starting center Mason Cole.”

Cole, 27, spent the 2021 season with the Minnesota Vikings after beginning his career with the Arizona Cardinals, spending the 2018-2020 seasons in the desert after being selected in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Michigan.

During his sole season in Minnesota, Cole largely was expected to serve as a depth piece for the Vikings given his experience across the offensive line. In college, he played both left tackle and center while playing all three of the interior offensive line spots during his early NFL career in Arizona.

Dec 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals center Mason Cole (52) and guard J.R. Sweezy (64) against the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

However, Cole would emerge as a starter down the stretch of the 2021 season at center after Garrett Bradbury was benched following his struggles. In all, Cole would appear in 14 games for the Vikings, making seven starts between the center and right guard positions.

In total, Cole played 472 snaps for the Vikings, earning a PFF grade of 69.7 for his efforts. An injury, though, would cost him the remainder of his 2021 season as he was placed on IR following Minnesota’s Week 15 game against the Chicago Bears.

Cole then decided to leave the Vikings in free agency, signing with the Steelers where he would start every game at center over the past two seasons. The offensive lineman put together a strong year in 2022, but he struggled mightily over the 2023 campaign, particularly in pass protection. Cole allowed 37 pressures this past year, more than any other center in the league.

Dec 3, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers center Mason Cole (61) prepares to snap the ball against the Arizona Cardinals during the third quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

If the Vikings were to consider a reunion with Cole, it could be for two reasons. Firstly, he could serve as the backup for Garrett Bradbury at the center position with Austin Schlottmann heading to free agency. They could also believe he has an opportunity to compete for the starting left guard position without another true solution in place at the moment.

Cole will turn 28 years old on March 28th.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Focus and Pro Football Reference.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.