Minnesota Vikings ‘Blown Away’ by Recent Signee’s Workout

Minnesota Vikings
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There are many new faces on the Minnesota Vikings‘ 91-man roster. But as we know, not all the athletes currently competing for a spot will still be on the team when the season kicks off.

Some players face better odds of securing a roster spot than others, and it appears one of the Vikings’ recent signings, tight end Robert Tonyan, is off to a strong start.

Robert Tonyan wants revenge on Chicago Bears

Robert Tonyan
Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

According to The Athletic’s Alec Lewis, the Vikings were “blown away” during Tonyan’s workout in mid-May. He added that Tonyan “looked” like a “favorite target” of quarterbacks during OTAs.

Meanwhile, Tonyan, who signed shortly after the workout occurred, played last season with the Chicago Bears after five seasons with the Green Bay Packers. His best seasons came in 2020 and 2022 when Tonyan recorded 586 and 470-yard seasons, including tying for an NFL-lead 11 touchdown receptions.

But things were different in Chicago, where Tonyan appeared in all 17 games but was targeted just 17 times. He’d catch 11 of those targets for 112 yards and played in just 28% of the team’s offensive snaps.

Now, Tonyan’s looking for revenge on the Bears after describing his time in Chicago as a “tough situation, going from playing 60 snaps to 10.”

Reports of Tonyan having an excellent summer is nothing new. They also back up what Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling reported during Vikings minicamp, when Tonyan got extra work due to T.J. Hockenson’s ongoing absence due to injury.

The truth is, Tonyan, if he can continue to stick out for all the right reasons, could very well earn not only a roster spot but possibly even a significant role within Kevin O’Connell’s offense. Depending on how long Hockenson’s ACL recovery keeps him sidelined, and some indications suggest it could be as long as six games or more, the Vikings’ need for another pass-catching weapon at tight end could fall on Tonyan’s shoulders.

While the coaching staff still loves Josh Oliver, his best asset will always be his ability to block. Tonyan is closer to the mold of Hockenson, so he’s an ideal short-term replacement as a weapon in the passing game.

Last year, the Vikings had four tight ends on the roster, and their need for more depth only grows without Hockenson. At this rate, it wouldn’t be surprising if Tonyan proved to be one of the best solutions between Johnny Mundt, Nick Muse, N’Keal Harry, Trey Knox, and Sammis Reyes. He’s certainly off to a good start.

Related: Sam Darnold Shines at Vikings Minicamp

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