Minnesota Vikings: Way-too-early 53-man roster projection

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Eric Kendricks
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Eric Kendricks /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr. /

Tight Ends (3)

  • Tyler Conklin
  • Zach Davidson
  • Irv Smith, Jr.

It is really strange to complete a list of tight ends for the Minnesota Vikings and not include Kyle Rudolph. He has been a part of the unit since 2011 but his exit opens the door for Irv Smith Jr. to prove he can be a dynamic playmaker and solid blocker.

Minnesota also saw a few flashes from backup tight end Tyler Conklin last season. He started two games in 2020 and played in all 16 where he caught 19 passes for 194 yards and a touchdown. It will be interesting to see how he can perform in a larger role.

Winning the third tight end spot will be tough. There are a lot of new and familiar faces fighting for a job this offseason. Although Minnesota has kept Brandon Dillon around for a few seasons now, it might be time to try something a little different on the roster.

Otherwise, it’s a lot of high-potential, versatile players making out the competition. Former punter Zach Davidson and former receiver Shane Zylstra could both beat out one of the receivers for a spot based on their special teams and red zone ability, but they will need to earn their way on the 53.