Former Bears TE making big first impression on the Vikings in minicamp

Minnesota Vikings TE Robert Tonyan
Minnesota Vikings TE Robert Tonyan / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

With the start of the 2024 season now just a few months away, whether or not T.J. Hockenson is going to be available to suit up for the Minnesota Vikings during their first few games is a question that still can't be answered.

Hockenson is still recovering from a serious knee injury he suffered in Minnesota's Week 16 loss to the Detroit Lions last season. He hasn't participated in any of the Vikings' OTA practices this spring, and he's probably not going to do much in the team's training camp this summer if he does anything at all.

In the meantime, Minnesota will need someone to step up as a reliable pass-catching tight end until Hockenson is ready to return to the field. Based on a report from Wednesday, the tight end who could become a factor for the Vikings in the beginning of the 2024 season could be one who the team recently signed.

New Minnesota Vikings TE Robert Tonyan has "looked great" in the team's 2024 minicamp

Last month, Minnesota made a decision to sign free-agent tight end Robert Tonyan, who spent last season as a member of the Chicago Bears. So far this spring, Tonyan has been performing very during his practice time with the Vikings according to The Athletic's Alex Lewis, who shared the following post on Twitter on Wednesday.

"Robert Tonyan has looked great in minicamp. No hyperbole. Catching everything, snagged multiple passes in red-zone period today, outstretched arms, toe-tapping in corner of the end zone. Just impressive.

In 17 games with the Bears last season, Tonyan only had 11 catches for 112 yards on 17 targets. His lack of production was a bit of a surprise since he was coming off of a 2022 campaign with the Green Bay Packers in which he hauled in 53 passes for 470 yards and two touchdowns.

Well, whatever form Tonyan was in last season with Chicago seems like something he potentially left behind based on what Lewis shared about the tight end on Wednesday.

We shouldn't expect Tonyan to emerge as some sort of game-breaking tight end with Minnesota next season. But it seems like the Vikings can at least feel a little better about their tight end room if Hockenson is unable to play during the team's first few games.

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