Vikings creating depth at tight end

Mike Zimmer and the rest of the Minnesota Vikings coaching staff did not add any tight ends during their first year with the team, but have added a lot of depth in the ensuing two offseasons.

When Mike Zimmer and the rest of the Minnesota Vikings’ coaching staff first took over the team in 2014, the position of tight end was pretty set. They had Kyle Rudolph, who is one of the better tight ends in the NFL when healthy, and Rhett Ellison, who is one of the better blocking tight ends. They also had Jerome Felton as a fullback, but they didn’utilize him too often when he was on the team. 

Since they already had a solid foundation at the position, the team decided to not draft a tight end during the 2014 offseason. Instead, the Vikings address edother positions on the team that had bigger holes to fill. 

They took a different approach during the 2015 offseason, though, as they drafted MyCole Pruitt in the fifth round, even though Rudolph and Ellison were still on the team. 

Pruitt did not have a huge role as a rookie when he was the third tight end on the depth chart, but he did show plenty of promise. He proved to be a solid run blocker and he also showed that he had the ability to come off the line and catch the ball, recording 10 receptions for 89 yards and three first downs. The Vikings coaches really like Pruitt’s versatility on the football field and believe he could be a great weapon to utilize down the road as he continues to develop. 

http://www.scout.com/nfl/vikings/story/1671126-vikings-have-struggled-re...  The team drafted another tight end in 2016, taking David Morgan in the sixth round. General manager Rick Spielman believes Morgan was the best blocking tight end in this year’s draft and believed taking him where they did was a great value pick for the team. 

There has not been much to go off of in terms of watching him on the football field, so at this point in time it is hard to say for sure how he is going to turn out. But from what he showed in rookie minicamp, not only is he a good blocker, but he seems to have good hands too. 

The Vikings have also added Brian Leonhardt in free agency this offseason and signed Kyle Carter as an undrafted free agent. That creates a lot of depth at the tight end position this offseason and it will be interesting to see how it all works out. This could be the year where you see a player like Zach Line get get pushed for a roster spot because they have enough versatility at the tight end position to also fill the role of fullback. 

Ellison, Pruitt and Morgan all have the ability to motion into the backfield, line up as a fullback and become the lead blocker. Also, if the Vikings start to work out of the shotgun more, which quarterback Teddy Bridgewater seems to be more comfortable in, having versatile tight ends seems to make more sense than having a fullback. 

Cuts are going to have to be made as the team currently has six tight ends on their roster and simply won’t have that many on their 53-man roster at the start of the regular season. The questions then become who do they keep, how many do they keep (likely three or four) and who do they let go. 


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