Analysis

It’s Tyler Conklin Time

Let’s Reid between the lines…

With Kyle Rudolph no longer a Viking, Minnesota’s remaining tight ends will need to step up big this season. Everyone is talking about Irv Smith Jr. having a breakout year, but fans shouldn’t sleep on Tyler Conklin either.

Conklin had plenty of success back in his college days at Central Michigan, and Minnesota’s scouts hoped it would translate well to the NFL when they drafted him back in 2018. The fifth round pick tallied over 500 yards and five touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons. Stats aside, he also had (and still has) a good build for a pass catching tight end at 6’3” and 254 lbs. Conklin is a capable blocker too!

It’s taken him a couple seasons to get his bearings in the NFL, but Conklin looked much more comfortable last year than he has in the past. He caught 19 passes for about 200 yards and also nabbed his first score. 200 yards is by no means gaudy, but that number should go up more now that Rudolph is gone and more reps are available. 

More importantly though, Conklin is a smart football player. He ran great routes last year and gave quarterback Kirk Cousins nice windows to throw into, especially on critical third downs. When the ball came his way, he was sure-handed with the catch and then used his body well to protect the ball from defenders.

As he enters his fourth season in the pros, Conklin will want to prove himself worthy of a long term contract. Conklin has indicated that he and his partner love the state and team that drafted him, and leaving would put his career in uncertain waters. Fans can expect to see some extra energy from #83 this year as he works to solidify his future as a Vikings tight end.

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