Minnesota Vikings Add to Their Tight End Collection

Minnesota Vikings
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has been busy this offseason, overhauling an offense led by Kirk Cousins for the past six seasons. But now it’s Sam Darnold or J.J. McCarthy’s team.

However, just because the two competing quarterbacks were both first-round selections, drafted much higher than Cousins, it doesn’t mean that either will be as successful. No matter who’s starting at QB for the Vikings, he’ll still need a lot of help from his teammates.

We know we can count on Justin Jefferson on gameday, and Jordan Addison proved plenty capable as a rookie too. Meanwhile, T.J. Hockenson is currently recovering from offseason ACL surgery, and the Pro Bowl tight end might not be ready for the start of the regular season.

Backup tight end Josh Oliver is ready for more snaps, but his best role is as a blocking tight end, where he can focus on helping the Vikings improve Kevin O’Connell’s rushing offense. So if Hock isn’t ready for snaps in training camp, and if Oliver isn’t a catch-first tight end, the quarterbacks might want another experienced option to mix in at tight end.

The good news is, the Vikings just signed a tight end with six years of experience.

Minnesota Vikings sign former Packers tight end Robert Tonyan

Robert Tonyan, Minnesota Vikings
Credit: Dan Powers / USA TODAY NETWORK

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Minnesota Vikings have signed Robert Tonyan Jr. The former Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers tight end worked out with the Tennessee Titans and Vikings earlier this week, but he chose to stay in the NFC North.

Tonyan once saw a sizable role with the Packers back in 2020, incredibly hauling in 52 of 59 targets for 586 yards and an NFL-leading (for tight ends) 11 touchdowns. While he only started eight games, that’s starter-level production from Tonyan.

But it’s all been downhill since. Tonyan’s next greatest season came in 2022, again with the Packers, catching 53 of 67 targets for 470 yards and two touchdowns. Most recently, Tonyan caught 11 of 17 targets in Chicago for 112 yards.

While he won’t compete for a starting role as long as Hockenson is healthy in Minnesota, adding Tonyan now gives the 30-year-old Illinois native a chance to stick on the roster by getting familiarized with KOC’s system and his new teammates. We don’t know how long Hockenson will be out, but for now, Tonyan’s competing with Johnny Mundt, Nick Muse, and undrafted rookie free agent Trey Knox.

Related: NFL Oddsmakers Have Vikings Losing Nearly Every Game on Newly Released Schedule

Mentioned in this article:

More About: