This one seems slightly unpopular with the fanbase but it makes sense if you look at the team’s specific needs. Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson are good tight ends but they’re receivers and not particularly good blockers. The Vikings of course have a run-heavy offense that often employs a blocking tight end or H-back. And with Jim Kleinsasser gone there was no one on the roster who really filled that role.
Now the Vikings have someone to fill that role. His name is Rhett Ellison. Like Matt Kalil he went to USC. Like Matt Kalil he is not a “sexy” pick. He’s a lunch-pail sort of player who Bill Musgrave will likely employ the same way he employed Kleinsasser last year.
Should the Vikings have addressed another need at this spot in the draft and waited on Ellison till a later pick? Maybe. But obviously they like this guy and think he can help. It’s not like they traded up for him or used a second rounder. They spent a 4th round compensatory pick. The future of the franchise is not going to be compromised by this decision, I don’t think.
Here’s a quick scouting report on Ellison via National Football Post in case you’re craving more info:
Certainly looks the part. Possesses a long, athletic build and has the frame to add even more weight and get bigger. Displays solid bend sitting into his stance and keeping his base down, but gets a bit hunched in the back at times. Doesn’t waste much motion getting into defenders off the line in the run game. Is coordinated and takes proper angles towards his target, extends his arms well, squares up his head with his man and can create a bit of a pop on contact. Needs to do a better job staying balanced and low through the play, as he has a tendency to get overextended and fall off blocks. Nevertheless, can certainly reach block on the edge, win on contact vs. backers and seal DE when need be. Is also comfortable in pass protection, understands angles, plays long and displays good coordination and range in space.