We saw the Minnesota Vikings add players like Dalvin Tomlinson, Patrick Peterson, and Xavier Woods this offseason. But cap casualties have left the Vikings thin at several positions. Some are obvious, like guard, but others haven’t considered as thoroughly — tight end, for instance. While both Irv Smith Jr. and Tyler Conklin are capable of taking over for Kyle Rudolph, there isn’t much depth behind them.
While the importance of tight ends has decreased in the modern NFL, it’s still a significant position for the Vikings’ offense. Their base grouping is 12 personnel, meaning they utilize two tight ends on the field most of the time.
Smith and Conklin have both displayed the ability to make plays as blockers and as pass catchers. But Smith was injured last year, and Conklin is on the final year of his deal, so the Vikings would be justified in using one of their picks to grab another tight end to fortify the position.
Tommy Tremble could be a perfect fit at tight end, and he should be available in the third or fourth round.
Nothing really stands out when looking at Tremble’s college stats. He only registered 35 receptions for 401 yards and four touchdowns because he had to play second fiddle to both Cole Kmet and Michael Mayer at Notre Dame. He did all the dirty work while they did most of the pass-catching.
At 6’4″, 246 lbs., Tremble has prototypical tight end size and incredible athleticism, as evidenced by his 4.59 40-yard dash. He can use both his speed and size to his advantage when running routes and is capable of beating opposing defensive players in various ways.
Tremble has all of the measurables to be a successful tight end in the NFL, but he has a few issues that will need to be addressed. While he uses his speed and size to beat defenders, he needs to become a better route runner to be an effective offensive weapon at the next level. He also had a few drops in college, which concerns scouts.
While Tremble is capable in the passing game, his blocking sets him apart. Because he was always buried on the depth chart, he earned playing time by winning in the trenches. Tremble even occasionally lined up at fullback like former Vikings tight end Jim Kleinsasser.
Tremble showed an incredible understanding of how to use his hands to push defenders back. He also demonstrated an advanced understanding of leverage, even blocking defensive ends. Notre Dame took full advantage of Tremble’s ability and his willingness to block, making him a pulling blocker or a lead blocker on power-run plays, getting him to the second level where he would topple over linebackers.
He might not be NFL-ready as a pass catcher quite yet, but he could make an immediate impact as a blocker. Tremble is projected to be taken in either the third or fouth round, where the Vikings have six picks.
Given Tremble’s current skillset, the Vikings could use him in his first year primarily in both run blocking and pass protection. They could utilize his existing skills while they remedy some of his issues like route running and drops.
Many first-year tight ends have trouble adjusting to the NFL, so a year of easing into the position could make for a smoother transition. If they can maximize these skills, in a few years the Vikings could have two matchup nightmares in Tremble and Smith, who are both extremely athletic pass-catchers and strong blockers.