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Football Outsiders calls tight end Vikings’ biggest roster need

Some of us saw this coming

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

With the 90-man roster now largely assembled, the Minnesota Vikings have addressed a lot of their needs over the course of this offseason. However, there are still some issues with the roster, and the folks from Football Outsiders have identified what they think is the team’s biggest need.

Behind the great E$PN paywall, Derrik Klassen has looked at the Vikings’ roster and come to the conclusion that the tight end position represents the biggest hole as things stand right now. Here’s what he had to say about it.

This season, the Vikings’ previously solid tight end room is now rather void. 2019 second-round pick Irv Smith Jr. returns as a sleek, “move” tight end, but he did not clear 350 receiving yards in either of his first two seasons and then missed all of 2021 with a season-ending meniscus surgery. Smith was never much of a blocker, either, which continues to be an odd fit with the style of offense a Kirk Cousins-led unit tends to gravitate toward.

Behind Smith on the depth chart is Ben Ellefson, who wasn’t remarkable with the Jaguars, and Johnny Mundt, a former Ram who followed new head coach Kevin O’Connell north in free agency. The team took a flier on South Carolina’s Nick Muse in the seventh round this year, but he isn’t expected to contribute early on, especially at a position that tends to require a transition period.

Now, some of us saw this coming a while back. Frankly, I was a bit disappointed that the team didn’t address the position before the seventh round of this year’s Draft, but that’s the direction the team went in for this season.

There could, potentially, be some answers in free agency. . .hey, Kyle Rudolph is available again. . .but it probably wouldn’t hurt the Vikings to at least kick the tires on some guys between now and the start of Training Camp. As we’ve said, if something happens to Irv Smith Jr. again this year on the injury front, there’s no Tyler Conklin coming in out of the bullpen to take his place. It might be true that Kevin O’Connell and company are trying to de-emphasize the tight end spot a bit compared to what we’ve seen the past few years, but you do actually have to put somebody out there at that spot occasionally.

What do you think the Vikings should do at the tight end spot, folks?