The tight end position has been an important one for the Minnesota Vikings throughout the Mike Zimmer era, but the team has been dealing with injuries at the position this season. In order to attempt to mitigate that, they have added another veteran player at the position.
The Vikings have signed tight end Luke Stocker to their practice squad. In order to make room on the practice squad for him, the team waived offensive lineman Zack Bailey.
Stocker has been in the league for a decade, having been drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of the University of Tennessee. He spent nearly seven seasons with Tampa, with the team releasing him towards the end of the 2017 season. He then moved on to the Tennessee Titans and played with them through the end of the 2018 season.
Stocker then moved on to the Atlanta Falcons for the 2019 season and spent two seasons with them. He then signed with the Titans again this past July, but the team cut him in September and he has been on the sidelines since then.
In his career, Stocker has played in 130 games with 91 starts. He has caught 83 passes for 693 yards and five touchdowns.
The signing of Stocker means that the Vikings now have three tight ends on the active roster (Tyler Conklin, Ben Ellefson, and Chris Herndon) and three on the practice squad (Zach Davidson, Brandon Dillon, and Stocker). Ellefson missed Wednesday’s first practice in preparation for this week’s game against the Carolina Panthers, while the team has already declared that Dillon was going to be a practice squad protection this week.
I’m not sure what that means for the tight end position for the Vikings going into this week’s game, other than perhaps Ellefson is in danger of missing Sunday’s contest. If Dillon has been protected, one would assume that he would end up getting elevated if Ellefson has to sit things out, but the team now has some veteran insurance behind him if something else were to happen.