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At the start of training camp, the Vikings tried out nine players. A day later, the franchise actually signed one of them.
Vikings Sign New Tight End
The roster had two vacancies following the release of cornerback John Reed and a roster exception due to the employment of Junior Aho, who as a member of the International Pathway Program does not count against the 90-man roster.
Adam Schefter as tight end fills a spot following the signing of Colin Thompson informed of: “Former Panthers TE and long snapper Colin Thompson, who spent the last three seasons in Carolina, is signing a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings, per source.”
Thompson joins a position group that lacked a player following the surprise retirement of veteran blocking specialist Ben Ellefson early in the offseason. There were only five players in the remaining group. TJ Hockenson is the undisputed top man of the group, starring in Kevin O’Connell’s Invasion right after he got into the building. He also played his first game after the season with the Vikings, playing quietly well.
Josh Oliver was a free signing agent. He agreed to a three-year, $21 million contract, making him arguably the second-highest number at the position. Unlike Hockenson, who is a receiving threat, his specialty is run blocking. He is one of the best players in the league in that department.
Behind those two top guys, the Vikings hired veteran Johnny Mundt who came over from the Rams with O’Connell and surprisingly played well as a TE2 as both a blocker and receiver. He should be considered the favorite for the 3rd TE spot on the roster. In many teams there are only three people in this position, but there is no question of a fourth.
2022 seventh-rounder Nick Muse was mostly on the practice squad as a rookie, but he could get more chances to prove himself in this year’s training camp and preseason. He will battle with Ben Sims, an undrafted rookie from Baylor.
Thompson has experience in 26 NFL games, and can play tight end and long snapper. The Vikings have All-Pro Andrew DePaola playing long snapper, so that spot is up for grabs. He signed a huge extension in the offseason with tons of guarantees. It’s also possible the team just wanted an extra body to take some of the work off the 36-year-old DePaola.
The new signee has started six games in his career but has only one catch with the Panthers in 2020. After spending his college career at Temple, he was on the ground in the NFL on 284 snaps on offense and 234 catches on special teams. The 6’4″ and 255-pound player should be considered the frontrunner to make the 53-man roster, but stranger things have happened.
Thompson will turn 30 in December, and this could be one of his last chances in the NFL.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who loves numbers and statistics. The Vikings became his favorite team at the time, despite quarterback Christian Ponder. He is a walking football encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms and classic rock is his musical genre of choice. If you like Vikings, follow them on Twitter: @JanikEckardt