Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

Six-month recovery for injured Minnesota Vikings TE Rhett Ellison

The Vikings will head into the playoffs without one of their versatile, oft-used tight ends after Rhett Ellison tore his patellar tendon Sunday night.

The Minnesota Vikings will be without their top blocking tight end for the playoffs after Rhett Ellison tore his patellar tendon in Sunday night’s season finale.

Ellison was hurt on a fourth-quarter reception, assisted to the sideline and then carted into the locker room. He left Lambeau Field with a brace on his knee and using crutches.

“Rhett’s really a guy that does an awful lot of things. He helps in protection, he helps blocking, in the running game. He’s done a good job really with everything,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “He’s a smart guy and we’re going to miss him. Rhett’s a good football player but he’s probably a better person.”

Ellison played in 15 of 16 games this year, missing a midseason Chicago game with injury, and started nine of them.

His loss will hurt the versatility of the Vikings offense, which has often employed three-tight end sets.

“It’s huge. He’s a heck of a player,” receiver Adam Thielen said. “He’s a great leader. He does the dirty work that nobody else can do. He’s a tough guy to replace, but we’ll do our best.”

Rookie MyCole Pruitt, who has usually played between 10 and 20 snaps a game, will see an increased role.

 “MyCole can do quite a bit that Rhett does,” Zimmer said. “There’s some things that Rhett is obviously better than MyCole, but there are some things that MyCole is better as well. We’ll just have to look at that mix and see how we can kind of adapt.”

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