Vikings Player Profile: Rookie Tight End MyCole Pruitt


Some of you may be curious as to who this guy is. Others may not even have a clue who he is. I am here to tell you that you should be curious and you should definitely know who MyCole Pruitt is.

MyCole Pruitt was a fifth round pick (143rd overall) for the Vikings in this year’s draft and he definitely fits the mold for the type of tight end that offensive coordinator Norv Turner loves to work with.

Athletic, physical, former basketball player: Check, check and check.

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All you have to do is look at Turner’s history with successful tight ends that were athletic, physical and former basketball players. Do the names Antonio Gates (San Diego) and Jordan Cameron (Cleveland with Turner, now plays for Miami) ring a bell?

Outside of the basketball players turned tight end who have excelled under Turner, there are others in the NFL who have done well for themselves too. The success of former and current players like Tony Gonzalez, Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas make MyCole Pruitt an interesting prospect to watch.

And so far, Pruitt has turned the heads of his teammates and coaches. In a recent Star Tribune article by Matt Vensel, both head coach Mike Zimmer and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater praised Pruitt’s talent.

Zimmer said the following of Pruitt:

"MyCole has done a nice job. We’ve moved him around quite a bit. He runs very, very well. He makes some really, really good catches and he’s 255 pounds. We anticipate that he will be a pretty good blocker. He’s really catching our eye."

And Bridgewater went on to say:

"Pruitt, he’s an athlete, I’m going to tell you that much. We’re glad to have him. He brings something different to the table. He can catch passes out of the backfield, catch passes from the tight end position, he can block in the run game, he can line up at wide receiver, probably can return punts and kicks, also. He’s an exciting player to have and he’s just looking forward to his opportunity."

Getting the attention of your head coach and the guy who will be throwing you the ball is always a positive for a relatively unknown rookie. Clearly MyCole Pruitt is letting his game speak for itself.

Speaking of which: just because Pruitt is relatively unknown does not mean that he comes to the Vikings with an underwhelming resume.

In fact, Pruitt led the NCAA in statistics as a tight end a year ago in all of Division I. And despite the fact that he did so at a level below the powerhouses of the SEC, Big 10, ACC, Big 12, etc., he obviously has been able to translate his game to the next level in the NFL (even if it’s only been at OTA’s and mini camp thus far).

Let’s take a look at MyCole Pruitt’s collegiate numbers from his days at Southern Illinois:

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Numbers don’t lie, folks.

Eighty-one receptions, 861 yards and 11 touchdowns is an impressive year for a college wide receiver, but for a college tight end that is almost unheard of – clearly this guy can play at a very high level.

Aug 31, 2013; Champaign, IL, USA; Southern Illinois Salukis tight end MyCole Pruitt (4) catches a touchdown pass against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. Illinois won 42-34. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

When I look at that type of production, watch the highlight videos and listen to what players and coaches say about MyCole Pruitt, the two biggest things that stick out to me are his versatility and athletic ability.

The Vikings could definitely use a physical and versatile player who can play and make plays from multiple places on the field – and all signs point towards that being the case for Pruitt in this year’s offense.

Aside from starting tight end Kyle Rudolph, the Vikings are somewhat unstable from a backup perspective. While Chase Ford and Rhett Ellison have both done okay and contributed when called upon in past years, we could really use a guy for when Rudolph needs a breather, or even worse but almost commonplace, gets injured. The selection of Pruitt was definitely a strong indicator that the Vikings saw the need to develop more talent behind Rudolph.

And while Pruitt was highly touted by our front office and coaches, I don’t think that anyone expected him to turn heads and force his way into the offensive scheme this early in the process.

I realize that OTA’s and mini camp are not the greatest benchmarks for measuring success or predicting final outcomes for the regular season, but I think that MyCole Pruitt is going to do some good things for our offense this year.

As I say very often in my posts, only time will tell.

But at first glance, I am beyond excited to see what this kid can do for our team.

So, what do you all think? Do you believe that Pruitt is legit and that he will make some plays for the Vikings this year? Let me know in the comments section below.

Next: Vikings Position Battle: Safety

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