Draft Objective: Getting Younger at Tight End

Dan covered the key points mentioned by VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman and Head Coach Leslie Frazier earlier today at a charity event in Winter Park, but there was one other interesting tidbit to pass along that is worthy of a blog entry…

The Vikings are vocal about wanting to get younger at Tight End. As to if this means they’ll be targeting one as early as the 2nd round or spending a late round pick there… well the official draft board is under lock and key. But it’s still very rare that a team comes out and says they’re targeting a non-premium position prior to the draft.

Ever since Visanthe Shiancoe came over to the purple from the New York Giants four years ago he has been fantastic. He lead the team in TD receptions during our magical 2009 season (remember for Vikings trivia years down the road that it wasn’t Sidney Rice or Percy Harvin) and lead all NFC tight ends with 7 TDs in 2008 catching balls from Gus Frerotte & Tarvaris Jackson. But throwing in the facts that Shiancoe turns 31 this summer and is in the last year of his contract knowing he’s only going to get one more sizable deal it’s very possible this may be his last year in purple. Behind Shiancoe, Jeff Dugan (also turning 30 this summer) is just a guy and Jim Kleinsasser is predominately used for blocking.

The other major factor is new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave comes from an Atlanta offense that ran number of plays using two tight ends where they’re used both for blocking and running routes. When one of those is Tony Gonzalez it certainly gives the Atlanta offense a lot of flexibility and you’d certainly expect Musgrave to want a comparable amount of talent to work with for his new gig.

So stay tuned for our next “2011 Vikings Mock Draft Take.” And don’t be surprised if we have a Golden Domer coming off the board at 43 who has no relation to a Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Jon Merckle may be followed @thevikingpig

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