5 free-agent tight ends the Vikings should consider for 2019

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Tyler Eifert
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Tyler Eifert /
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(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) Jesse James
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) Jesse James /

Jesse James

2018 Stats:

  • 30 receptions
  • 423 yards
  • 2 touchdowns

If the Vikings flat out cut Kyle Rudolph this offseason, James could be an ideal and affordable replacement. At 6-foot-7, 261 pounds, he moves quite well for a man so big and he has proven that he can be a threat in the passing game.

James was a fifth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers back in 2015. He played a preseason game against the Vikings that year and he had a brutal performance, dropping quite a few passes and looking like he didn’t belong in the league.

James has come a long way since then and his career numbers are quite eye-catching. The 24-year-old tight end has racked up 120 catches for 1,189 yards and nine touchdowns over the past four seasons.

James’ numbers are even more impressive when one factors in the weapons Pittsburgh has had on the roster during this same time period that includes Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Le’Veon Bell to just name a few. The big tight end was able to gain the trust of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s enough to where he saw a handful of targets per game despite the superstars he was playing with.

How much James will demand on the free-agent market this year remains a question. With his production and age, he could end up being more than Minnesota can afford. But as far as pure pass catchers go, James is one of the best the Vikings could find on the open market this offseason and he has plenty of upside.