6 deepest positions on the 2021 Minnesota Vikings roster

(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson /
3 of 7
Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr. and Tyler Conklin. /

Tight End

The Vikings did cut ties with long-time great Kyle Rudolph, and while his presence as a leader on and off the field will surely be missed, the team is still very deep at the tight end position. Irv Smith Jr. is the big reason why.

Smith is a guy who is on the precipice of a breakout season. He’s shown what he’s capable of in flashes during his first few seasons with the Vikings but now he can step out of Rudolph’s shadow and be the No. 1 guy when it comes to the tight end position.

The early reviews on Smith in OTAs have been very positive and he looks to have added muscle to his frame and he is clearly in the best shape of his career. If he stays healthy for all 17 games, he’ll easily put together the type of season fans have been waiting for since the day he was drafted.

Tyler Conklin’s emergence last season is another reason why the Vikings remain deep at the tight end position even after Rudolph’s departure. He became a reliable target in the passing game last year and earned the trust of Kirk Cousins. He’ll see many more targets this season, and is playing for some cash, as he’s in a contract season.

Behind those two studs are some young guys with plenty of upside. Sixth-round pick Zach Davidson is dripping with potential and has great size at 6-foot-7 and unfair athletic ability.

He’ll battle it out with Brandon Dillon to be the third tight end this season. The Vikings also have Shane Zylstra on the roster, who they are converting to tight end, and he’ll be in the mix.

Tight end is an exciting position for Minnesota as it is deep and also filled with plenty of youth and upside.