Former Vikings tight end excelling with new team in 2022

(Photo by Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) Tyler Conklin
(Photo by Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) Tyler Conklin /

Former Minnesota Vikings tight end Tyler Conklin is currently leading the New York Jets in receptions so far this season.

In his first opportunity to be a full-time starter, tight end Tyler Conklin made the most of his increase in playing time with the Minnesota Vikings last season as he hauled in 61 catches for 593 yards and three touchdowns. Ultimately, Conklin’s performance with the Vikings in 2021 led to him landing a lucrative contract with the New York Jets this past offseason.

Three games into his first year with the Jets and the former Minnesota tight appears to have picked up right where he left off last season.

Conklin is currently tied with New York rookie wide receiver Garrett Wilson for the team lead in receptions with 18, and his 18 catches are also the second-most among all tight ends in the NFL this season.

Did the Minnesota Vikings make a mistake by letting Tyler Conklin sign with the New York Jets?

As Conklin is off to a great start with the Jets this season, it makes one wonder if the Vikings should have made a better effort to re-sign him earlier this year.

Conklin signed a three-year deal worth up to $20.25 million with New York this past offseason that included $10 million in fully-guaranteed money. His cap hit with the Jets this year is only $3.37 million, so it probably wouldn’t have been too difficult for Minnesota to come up with a similar deal to keep him around.

However, the Vikings were clearly comfortable with Irv Smith Jr. as their No. 1 tight end heading into this season, so they let Conklin walk. So far this year, it’s not looking like that great of a decision.

Smith has already been hampered by an injury this year (thumb surgery), he’s struggled with consistency as a pass-catcher, and he’s graded as one of the worst run-blocking tight ends in the league by PFF.

Conklin hasn’t been that great of a run-blocker this season either, but he’s at least been able to make up for it with his performance as a receiver.

Will Smith be able to get things sorted out to reach his full potential this season or will he continue to be outperformed by Conklin for the remainder of the 2022 campaign?

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