Over the next couple weeks, Zone Coverage will break down the Minnesota Vikings post-draft roster by position group.
Today’s Focus: Tight ends
With a new tight ends coach in Clancy Barone and some new faces in the mix, the Vikings could look different at the position this season. While Kyle Rudolph remains entrenched as the top dog, several players will be jockeying for backup positions. If the team opts to keep a fourth tight end as it has done the past two years, there may be a surprise roster addition within the options below. Though, with a need for depth on the offensive line, the Vikings may elect to keep just three instead.
Free agent departures: Rhett Ellison (NYG)
Arrivals: Bucky Hodges, Nick Truesdell, Josiah Price
Already rostered: Kyle Rudolph, David Morgan II, Kyle Carter
THE LONG SHOTS: Josiah Price, Nick Truesdell, Kyle Carter
To generate some competition, the Vikings added a journeyman, Truesdell, and an undrafted free agent, Price, to compete for the final tight end job along with Carter, a practice squad body a year ago. Truesdell is a 27-year-old former Arena League star whose past stops include the Bemidji Axemen and Spokane Shock. He’s also got a checkered past that includes crimes of theft, breaking and entering and drug trafficking.
Price had a relatively nondescript career at Michigan State, where he totaled 1,238 yards and 21 touchdowns over four seasons. Carter, another Big Ten product, is two years removed from a career at Penn State and was in and out of Minnesota’s scout team last season.
Truesdell is the most intriguing based on his 6-foot-5 frame and 4.6 speed, but his lack of experience at the NFL level and character concerns make him a risk. It would be tough to see any of these three making an impact this season.
COMPETING FOR THE NO. 2 JOB: Bucky Hodges, David Morgan II
There will likely be a battle between two sixth-round picks for the primary backup role, though it’s quite possible both competitors land a spot on the 53-man roster anyway. On one hand, there’s Morgan, the tough blocker from Texas-San Antonio who caught one pass his rookie season. On the other, there’s Hodges, the converted quarterback with sub-4.6 speed. These two complement each other nicely and could both carve out a niche: Morgan as an in-line blocker or route runner; Hodges as a slot option.
THE LOCK: Kyle Rudolph
Remarkably already entering his seventh season, Rudolph is coming off the best campaign of his career. The former second-round pick recorded over 300 more yards than of his previous five seasons, caught seven touchdowns and was targeted over eight times per game.
At 27, Rudolph should still be in his prime. He has three years remaining on his five-year extension.
Making the roster: Rudolph, Morgan, Hodges
Practice squad potential: Carter