Vikings Add New TE in Neverending Quest

Johnny Mundt, Nick Muse, Jacob Hollister, and T.J. Hockenson — read ’em and weep, those men have been added to the Minnesota Vikings roster at TE since the end of 2021.

Well, the franchise evidently desired a little Irish-laden flair, adding free-agent TE James O’Shaughnessy to the practice squad on Monday.

O’Shaughnessy was previously a part of the Chicago Bears organization but was released on the final day of roster trimdowns in August. Now, the veteran tight end joins the rival Vikings, who have auditioned and utilized TEs-galore since the change in leadership to Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell.

PurplePTSD: Another New TE, Home Underdogs, What in the World?
Nov 28, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars tight end James O’Shaughnessy. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports.

Two weeks ago, then-TE1 Irv Smith was placed on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain. It is unclear if Smith will return during the regular season. Accordingly, the Vikings didn’t mess around at tight end, dropping a trade out of the sky for T.J. Hockenson, who’s paid immediate dividends for Minnesota.

But they weren’t quite done. The Las Vegas Raiders pilfered Jacob Hollister, a tight end, from Minnesota’s practice squad last week, and the unit needed replenishment.

Insert O’Shaugnessy, a seven-year NFL veteran.

Oct 25, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars tight end James O’Shaughnessy. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports.

A 5th-Round draft pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2015 — 27 picks after the Vikings drafted Stefon Diggs — O’Shaughnessy has ample starting experience. He’s played in 80 career games, starting 40, while tabulating 112 receptions for 1,108 yards and 3 touchdowns. O’Shaugnessy was at the peak of his powers in 2020, starting 13 of 16 games in the season before the Jaguars curiously embarked on the Urban Meyer era.

The Illinois State alumnus spent his first two years with the Chiefs but was only targeted 12 times in Alex Smith’s offense.

Overall, here’s the state of play in the Vikings TE room:

  • TE1 = T.J. Hockenson
  • TE2 = Irv Smith (injured)
  • TE3 = Johnny Mundt
  • TE4 = Ben Ellefson
  • TE5 = Nick Muse
  • TE6 = James O’Shaughnessy

O’Shaugnessy has played against the Vikings twice in his career, and his team lost on both occasions (2015 with Kansas City; 2020 with Jacksonville). He generally posts a Pro Football Focus score in the 60s at season’s end.

He spent a few months with the New England Patriots in 2017 but never played regular season snaps.

O’Shaugnessy will turn 31 in January.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).