Former Viking Hops onto Kevin O’Connell’s Coaching Staff

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Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

That didn’t take long — not long at all.

Former Minnesota Vikings tight end Ben Ellefson retired last week and reportedly latched onto his old team’s coaching staff this week.

Former Viking Hops onto Kevin O’Connell’s Coaching Staff

ESPN Kevin Seifert tweeted Tuesday, “Retired TE Ben Ellefson will move into what Kevin O’Connell called a ‘hybrid’ role with the Vikings. Some coaching, maybe scouting, maybe player engagement. Will be finalized by training camp and continue through the 2023 season.”

Former Viking Hops
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings tight end Ben Ellefson (82) during the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

The assignment sounds supremely fascinating for the retired tight end, who, just one week ago, didn’t know what was next in his post-football life. Ellefson said about his retirement on social media five days ago, “Thank you football, for the people you’ve brought into my life and the opportunities you’ve given me to pursue my dreams to the fullest. I’ve been blessed on my path to have people who believed in me, which has drowned out those who doubted.”

Ellefson was a member of the Vikings in 2021 and 2022, playing nine games and frequenting special teams, plus some offensive plays, at times.

North Dakota State tight end Ben Ellefson falls into the end zone with a touchdown reception in the second quarter at Delaware Stadium Saturday. © WILLIAM BRETZGER, DELAWARE NEWS JOURNAL, Delaware News Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

“So, thank you, believers, for the chances you’ve taken on me, helping and supporting me in my drive to give this game all I could and to reach my fullest potential. The list is long, and I am fortunate. Everybody’s story is different, and I’m proud to say I’ve given the game of football everything I have,” Ellefson continued in the post.

Ellefson joined the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted commodity in 2020.

Oct 25, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Ben Ellefson (86) scores on a two-point conversion against the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports.

“Injuries are a part of the game, and although they are a big reason for me moving on, I am fortunate to be in a spot where I can still walk away from the game as a player, ready to tackle whatever is next in my life,” Ellefson concluded last week about retirement.

Now, he’ll become a coach, scout, or something in between.

Ellefson hit the Vikings injured reserve twice last season because of a groin injury, and perhaps something lingered into the 2023 offseason. He tabulated 4 catches for 36 yards in three seasons with 257 offensive snaps between the Jaguars and Vikings.

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Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes to tight end Ben Ellefson (82) against the Green Bay Packers in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Ellefson is just 26 years old and likely would’ve made the Vikings roster in 2023 as a TE3 if injuries didn’t derail his playing career.

Vikings mandatory minicamp kicks off in six days, and Ellefson will likely attend.

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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