Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings sign Brian Leonhardt

The Minnesota Vikings signed Spring Lake Park native Brian Leonhardt in order to give them security as Rhett Ellison continues to recover.

The Minnesota Vikings have signed tight end Brian Leonhardt to a one-year deal, as originally reported by ESPN.

Leonhardt becomes the fourth tight end on the Vikings roster – joining Kyle Rudolph, MyCole Pruitt and the recently-re-signed Rhett Ellison. A big part of this signing is to give the Vikings a safety net in case Ellison’s recovery does not go exactly as planned.

Ellison suffered a torn patellar tendon in his right knee during the team’s final regular-season game against the Green Bay Packers. Ellison is known as the Vikings' best blocking tight end, and that is the role that Leonhardt also fits into best. It’s amplified by the fact he has recorded just seven career receptions for 39 yards and a touchdown in 16 games played.

Leonhardt is a native of Spring Lake Park, Minn. and spent his college days playing for the Division-II school Bemidji State University in northern Minnesota.

The newest Vikings tight end spent time with the team’s new offensive line coach Tony Sparono last season while they were both part of the San Francisco 49ers organization. Even with that connection, though, it could end up being very difficult for Leonhardt to make the 53-man roster following training camp, especially if Ellison’s recovery goes as planned.

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