Young Vikings Playmaker Makes Roster Battle a Bit More Complicated

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

In back-to-back preseason games, the Minnesota Vikings have witnessed a standout performer — with a wee bit of ‘didn’t see that one coming’ attached.

He’s Nick Muse, a second-year tight end from South Carolina.

Young Vikings Playmaker Makes Roster Battle a Bit More Complicated

Muse once again authored a preseason graphic novel, taking it to the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night, and he was one of the team’s lone bright spots on offense.

Playmaker Makes Roster
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings lost to the Titans 24-16 in Preseason Game No. 2, but Minnesota loses every preseason game with Kevin O’Connell in charge. It seems that’s the modus operandi, for better or worse.

Folks can’t complain about Muse, though, who chipped off the Titans for 3 catches and 46 yards (the Vikings leader in receptions and receiving yards, if that can be believed).

Minnesota Vikings tight end Nick Muse (34) gets around Tennessee Titans safety Mike Brown (44) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023. © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Muse also fired up a memorable preseason opener for Minnesota 10 days ago with 3 catches, one for a touchdown, capped by this highlight:

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Both performances indicate a positive trajectory for Muse’s 53-man roster aspirations, as the Vikings must trim the depth chart from 90 players to 53 on August 29th. Here’s Minnesota’s current TE room, per the team depth chart released two weeks ago:

TE1: T.J. Hockenson
TE2: Josh Oliver
TE3: Johnny Mundt
TE4: Nick Muse
TE5: Ben Sims
TE6: Colin Thompson

The Vikings kept three tight end on the roster heading into the 2022 season, so Muse, in theory, will have to dethrone Johnny Mundt — who is loved by the current coaching staff — or Minnesota must keep four TEs. We shall see. Muse’s production, albeit in ‘meaningless’ games, however, cannot be ignored.

A prominent Vikings-themed social media account, VikeFans, tweeted about Muse Saturday night, “TE Nick Muse secured a spot and was arguably the best receiver for MIN on the field tonight. 2 big gainers on TE screens/flat patterns. Secured a spot on the team tonight.”

Nick Muse greets campers onto the field during the 2nd Annual Muse Boys 3rd-9th Grade Football Camp Friday morning, June 23, 2023, on the practice field next to Lineberger Stadium on the campus of South Point High School in Belmont. © Mike Hensdill/The Gaston Gazette / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Sometimes preseason majesty doesn’t directly translate to a regular season spot. Former Vikings DT T.Y. McGill can tell you all about it. He looked wonderful at this time last year — like Muse this go-round — but was cut by the Vikings and later ended up with the San Francisco 49ers.

Muse has done everything right, nevertheless. He’s also only 24 years old.

The South Carolina alumnus played in 10 regular season games last year — 108 snaps, all special teams. He totaled 805 receiving yards in 31 games as a Gamecock from 2019 to 2021.

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 Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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