When you run down the list of weapons in the Minnesota Vikings’ offense, it generally takes you a while before you get to tight end David Morgan. In his two seasons with the team he’s had just 11 receptions (ten of which game this past season) and has found the end zone just once. However, it appears that he could be getting the reputation of being an vastly underrated player.
Pro Football Focus has put together a list of “Secret Superstars” from offenses across the National Football League, and Morgan makes the list for what he’s done for the Vikings over the past two years.
It may not be as high profile as some of the other positions mentioned in this article but the role of the second tight end in “12 personnel” packages (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR offensive sets) is increasingly important as teams look more and more towards this as “the” base package. Morgan is the ideal fit, a guy who makes the most of his limited receiving opportunities behind Kyle Rudolph and blocks very well.
So ideal in fact he graded a superb 86.2 overall, a number only diminished by his 431 snaps and lowly 12 targets. He is reminiscent very much of Delaine Walker when he was the “blocker” complementing Vernon Davis with the 49ers in 2011 and 2012 and you can easily see an NFL team making him a starter when he becomes a free agent.
Delanie Walker is a heck of a guy to be compared to as a tight end. As the PFF piece says, Walker began his career with the 49ers, and actually played seven seasons there, remaining relatively anonymous. He signed with the Tennessee Titans before the start of the 2013 season, and has had over 800 yards receiving in each of the last four seasons (including a 1,088 yard season in 2015) and has had over 100 targets in all of those seasons. Of course, he just turned 34 years old, so he’s closer to the end of his career to the beginning. Hopefully Morgan won’t have to wait quite that long to see his production increase dramatically.
With as stacked as the Vikings are on offense, Morgan is likely going to be one of those guys that gets lost in the shuffle and will get a larger opportunity somewhere else, as the PFF article suggests. Or, at some point, he may end up being Rudolph’s successor and move up the ladder to the #1 tight end spot, no doubt mentoring the next David Morgan as the #2 tight end.
We say this sort of thing whenever we talk about underrated players like this, but every team needs a bunch of David Morgans to be successful. Sure, it’s nice to have a bevy of superstars like the Vikings have, but on a roster of 53 players, you need guys that aren’t big names to contribute as well. Here’s hoping that Morgan can continue being a strong contributor to this Vikings’ roster.