It’s that time of year where a team is loaded up on talent at many positions. Sadly, not all of those players will go on to make the 53 man roster or the practice squad. This the the third installment in the Minnesota Vikings position battle series and is all about the tight ends!
Let’s take a look at the tight ends currently on the roster:
Here’s a quick breakdown of each of these guys:
Oct 13, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) catches a pass as Carolina Panthers safety Quintin Mikell (27) tackles him in the second quarter at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. Panthers win 35-10. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Rudolph has the potential to be one of the top tight ends in the NFL. He’s shown flashes of elite potential despite inconsistent quarterback play and limited plays from offensive coordinators. Now that Norv Turner is there to run the show offensively, Rudolph should be able to have a huge breakout year if he can stay healthy.
Rhett Ellison is an interesting player. He’s a great blocker and could be used as a fullback if needed. However, his real strength is lining up as a blocker and then releasing to catch a short checkdown pass. The former 4th round pick reminds many folks of former Minnesota Vikings great Jim Kleinsasser and should continue to earn that praise.
Nov 3, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) runs with ball for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against Dallas Cowboys safety Jeff Heath (38) linebacker Justin Durant (52) and Kyle Wilbur (51) and safety Barry Church (42) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Chase Ford saw himself thrust into action last year after injuries to Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson. He had 11 catches for 113 yards, but he’s most remembered for the play where he helped carry running back Adrian Peterson into the endzone against the Dallas Cowboys. Ford is a pretty solid backup at tight end.
Allen Reisner is a 25 year old out of the University of Iowa. He found himself with the biggest season of his career last year with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he caught 5 catches for 40 yards. After not having his contract renewed by Jacksonville, the Minnesota Vikings brought him back for one more try on the squad.
A.C. Leonard is the wild card of this group. He was an undrafted free agent this year, but some draft experts had him listed as high as 4th round potential. Although he played his 2011 NCAA season at Florida, he transferred to Tennessee State. It’s hard to know what to expect from Leonard in training camp.
Here are the players I see making the 53 man roster:
- Kyle Rudolph
- Chase Ford
- Rhett Ellison
Analysis of My Prediction
While Rudolph is the only guy that you can really call a lock to make the 53 man roster barring some strange occurrence, Minnesota will most likely add a backup and a multipurpose player to the roster. Chase Ford showed some really great potential in his limited play time last year and Rhett Ellison adds an interesting dimension to the passing and blocking game. Although I like the potential that A.C. Leonard has, he might be best suited as a practice squad player unless he really shines during training camp and preseason. Meanwhile, Allen Reisner will most likely be the odd man out in this situation.