Vikings Tight End Hits IR

Vikings Tight End Hits IR
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings will be a man short for at least the next four games as the franchise looks to build on a 3-1 start to the 2022 season.

TE Ben Ellefson was added to Injured Reserve on Saturday, battling a groin injury.

In his stead, 7th-Round rookie from South Carolina, Nick Muse, was activated from the practice squad. Muse has not yet played in a regular season game and could see action as soon as Sunday.

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Ellefson, 26, has surprisingly been utilized more than expected in 2022, playing 43 offensive snaps for the Vikings thus far, along with 52 special teams plays. QB Kirk Cousins has targeted the North Dakota State alumnus three times in 2022 for 3 receptions and 26 yards, including 2 first downs.

When training camp began in July, Ellefson was a relative longshot to make the 53-man roster, but he outlasted Zach Davidson, Shaun Beyer, and the aforementioned Muse for an active roster spot. And so far, his 79.1 Pro Football Focus grade proves the Vikings coaching staff had a method to its madness.

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As a rookie in 2020, Ellefson joined the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent. He lasted for one year down in Flordia before that club opted for the Urban Meyer experience, which ended quickly with a whimper [or perhaps thud].

The Jaguars structural upheaval allowed Ellefson to trek northward with the Vikings, where he’s remained since. He played 81 offensive snaps in 2021, with 44 special teams plays to boot. But now Ellefson will mend the ailing groin and hope to return to his team in early November.

The Vikings also signed Jacob Hollister, a veteran tight end with ample experience, to the practice squad on September 27th, and he could be the next man up if Muse underwhelms. Hollister has the resume to play TE2 on many NFL teams.

Minnesota is 3-1 in 2022, with 75% odds of reaching the postseason, according to FiveThirtyEight. Tight ends Irv Smith and Johnny Mundt sit on the depth chart above Ellefson and could see a few more targets with Ellefson shelved.

Ellefson was born in Hawley, Minnesota, about 220 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

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 Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).