Vikings Re-Sign Tush Push Specialist

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It is that time of the year when old players leave the franchise and find new homes while new players arrive. Kirk Cousins heads to Atlanta and Danielle Hunter joins the Texans, both will meet the Vikings in U.S. Bank Stadium in 2024. On the flip side, Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel are the new pass-rushers, Sam Darnold is currently the QB1 on paper and Aaron Jones will have the opportunity to fix the rushing attack.

Vikings Re-Sign Tush Push Specialist

Vikings Re-Sign Tush Push Specialist
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In addition to those main moves, Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has also made sure to re-sign some depth players. Versatile offensive lineman Blake Brandel returns for another season just like backup offensive tackle David Quessenberry.

Another player who will spend at least one more season wearing the purple jersey is veteran receiver Brandon Powell, the team announced on Tuesday. It will be a one-year contract. The 28-year-old has been with the Vikings since last offseason when he was added to compete for the punt return gig.

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He won the job in training camp over Jalen Reagor who then was released. Powell returned 37 punts for 289 yards, resulting in an average of 7.8 yards per return. Fans also started to have confidence in him actually making the right play between calling a fair catch and taking off. He has been a secure catcher, a huge upgrade over some previous returners. Unless the Vikings add a punt return star in the draft, he will have that job in 2024.

His impact as a special teams contributor was expected once he won the camp competition but his impact on offense was a great extra. Powell barely played snaps on offense until Justin Jefferson’s hamstring forced him to miss time. The depth players were asked to step up and Powell was the main beneficiary.

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The undersized player only caught a single pass total in the season’s first four games. After Jefferson exited the game against Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs, he snagged four passes for 43 yards. That was his highest yardage total since Week 17 in 2018, but it was only the start of Powell’s emergence as a weapon in Minnesota’s arsenal.

In the seven games without JJ, Powell racked up 20 catches for 221 yards, and he made the game-winning grab against the Atlanta Falcons while also adding 8 yards on 4 carries. Over the course of the season, Powell logged a career-high 324 receiving yards in 29 receptions and he secured his first receiving score since 2020.

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A play Kevin O’Connell shouldn’t call again is the tush push with him trying to push the quarterback from behind over the line to gain. In overtime versus the Bengals, he called that on consecutive downs, third and fourth down. Deciding to run a tush push when only one inch is required is fine, having a player with 181 lbs push him is a disaster. The play failed and folks around the league laughed about the idea.

Because K.J. Osborn is a free agent, Powell is the current WR3 on the depth chart. That could change if the Vikings sign a different free agent or draft a prospect in April.

Regardless of his eventual role, he has proven to be a reliable option no matter how big the moment is and he will continue to see opportunities on offense.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt