With the numerous roster deficiencies facing the Minnesota Vikings as the free agent negotiating period began on Monday, the tight end position didn’t appear to be one of them. But that’s where Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell have gone for their first outside signing of this offseason.
Per numerous reports, the Vikings have agreed to terms with tight end Josh Oliver, who played for the Baltimore Ravens last season. The deal is reportedly a three-year, $21 million deal, $11 million of which is guaranteed.
Oliver was a third-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2019 NFL Draft after a successful college career at San Jose State. Unfortunately for him, injuries limited him to just four games in his two seasons with Jacksonville, including missing the entire 2020 season with a foot injury.
The Jaguars then traded him to the Ravens for a seventh-round pick, and Oliver appeared in 31 of a possible 34 games for them over the past two seasons with ten starts, nine of which came this past season. Over the course of his career, he’s caught 26 passes for 230 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Oliver is much better known for his blocking ability at this point, and his ability in that area might allow the Vikings to be more flexible with how they use T.J. Hockenson. Hockenson is an outstanding blocker in his own right, but having someone with Oliver’s ability could give them an opportunity to use more two tight end sets and present issues for opposing defenses.
The Vikings can’t make this deal official until Wednesday at 3:00 PM Central when the new league year officially gets underway, but they’re still clearing out cap space and will need to make numerous other moves as well.
Welcome to Minnesota, Josh Oliver!