Free Agency

Minnesota Vikings Re-Sign Rhett Ellison

Rhett Ellison flirted with the free agent market, but in the end, found his way home to the Minnesota Vikings. As announced on the team’s official website, the fifth-year tight end re-signed with the Vikings on Tuesday morning. The Vikings also made the Marcus Sherels re-signing official, as the punt returner and special teams ace reportedly returned to the team late last week after visiting the New York Jets.

Sherels signed a two-year, $4 million ($1.5 million guaranteed) deal to remain in Minnesota, and he’ll have zero guaranteed money after the 2016 season. Ellison, who is recovering from a torn patellar tendon suffered in Week 17 last year, reportedly signed a one-year, $2.25 million contract.

As the second-string tight end behind Kyle Rudolph, Ellison caught 11 passes for 124 yards last season, scoring one touchdown against the Oakland Raiders in Week 10. In his four-year career, he’s started 35 games for the Vikings, totaling 42 receptions for 458 yards and 3 touchdowns while contributing 25 tackles on special teams.

More than his abilities as a receiver, Ellison is a do-it-all contributor for the Vikings. He plays on nearly every special teams unit, lines up at multiple positions in multiple offensive formations, and helped block for the league’s leading rusher in 2015, Adrian Peterson. Despite the serious knee injury, Ellison is expected to make a full return for training camp this July, per Chris Tomasson.

“He should be full go by training camp,’’ said Riki Ellison, Rhett’s father. “He’s ahead of schedule in terms of flexibility and all his measurements.’’ Last week, Riki posted to Facebook and proclaimed that his son would not be re-signing with the Vikings. The message was quickly removed, and Riki told Tomasson that the Vikings had “underestimated” Rhett’s value.

The ploy to increase Rhett’s value apparently worked, as the Vikings came back to the negotiating table with a number much higher than their original offer. If Ellison can make a full recovery and return to his pre-injury form, he gives the Vikings incredible depth at tight end. With Kyle Rudolph, MyCole Pruitt, and a healthy Ellison, Minnesota has three players who can make a difference from a number of spots on the field.


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Austin Belisle

Austin Belisle is the West Coast's biggest Vikings fan, a football diehard cheering on the purple and yellow from sunny California. After graduating from San Jose State University in 2014, he began working full-time in corporate marketing and blogging on various sports websites. Austin's passion for the Vikings led him to Vikings Territory, where he hopes to share his lifelong enthusiasm for the team with readers on a daily basis. You can follow him on Twitter @austincbelisle

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  1. I’m a big fan of Rhett’s and what he’s brought to the team. It’s great news that Spielman & Co. were able to work something out. But I have to say Rhett’s dad’s behavior has been odd, if not down right inappropriate. We all have known parents who took their kid’s sporting events a little too seriously and oftentimes put themselves at the center of things rather than letting their kids do their own thing. I may be totally off base as I don’t personally know the man, but Riki strikes me as the kind of father who made others cringe whenever they found out they had his son as a teammate.

    1. Agreed. Wouldn’t your agent be the person to try some trickery? Or were they thinking that would be “too obvious.”…………like this ploy wasn’t.

  2. I believe Rhett’s 1 year deal is basically a “show us you’re healthy, and we’ll talk long term before you got free agency next year” deal.

  3. great! one of my favorite Vikes by far – reliable, dependable, tough, more action-less words kind of a guy. Can’t have too many Rhett Ellison’s on your team.

  4. “The ploy to increase Rhett’s value apparently worked, as the Vikings came back to the negotiating table with a number much higher than their original offer.”

    The Union Man in me loves this. Nice to see the bosses scrambling for once.