The Minnesota Vikings have activated tight end Rhett Ellison off the PUP list with two preseason games left to go.
Rhett Ellison will get his chance to show the Vikings he deserves to stick around as their do-everything tight end.
Tuesday the Vikings officially welcomed Ellison back by activating him off the PUP list.
Ellison tore his patellar tendon during last year’s regular season finale and there was widespread belief that he would not be ready to return for 2016.
The Vikings did bring back free agent Ellison on a one-year deal. But they also covered themselves by using a sixth-round pick on blocking back David Morgan.
Though Ellison looks like he is physically ready, there is no guarantee he will stick on the roster. David Morgan’s emergence has complicated matters.
Through two preseason games, Morgan has shown blocking proficiency and surprising acumen as a receiver. Morgan had three receptions vs. the Bengals including a 22-yard catch to help set up a touchdown.
The Vikings could choose to go with four tight ends, keeping Morgan and Ellison in addition to Kyle Rudolph and MyCole Pruit. But then they would likely let go of fullback Zach Line.
Is Line important enough as a lead-blocker to keep around at the expense of Ellison, a player who has some versatility?
The Vikings have two preseason games during which to decide how their tight end/fullback situation will break down.
I would be hesitant to let go of Line just to keep Ellison, knowing that Morgan appears capable of filling Ellison’s role.
Morgan’s emergence possibly has rendered Ellison expendable but at least Ellison gets a chance to make a case for himself.
Even if Ellison doesn’t stick with the team, it was pretty amazing for him to get back as fast as he did.
This whole situation lends a note of intrigue to the final two preseason games.