Is Josh Oliver In for an Upgrade?

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The Minnesota Vikings signed Josh Oliver last season after the tight end spent a couple of years with the Baltimore Ravens. His three-year pact tied him to Minnesota for the same number of seasons he had previously spent in the NFL, and this year could be his biggest yet.

Is Josh Oliver In for an Upgrade?

With T.J. Hockenson suffering a season-ending knee injury late last year, he is all but expected to miss some serious time out of the gate in 2024. With that in mind, the Minnesota Vikings will need other playmakers to step up if either Sam Darnold or J.J. McCarthy feel supported by the cast around them.

josh oliver
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Of course, the Vikings’ wide receiver position is loaded, with Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison set as the top options. Aaron Jones comes in to shore up the backfield, and he can be a threat in the receiving game as well. What takes place at the tight end position is much less certain, but that provides opportunity for someone like Oliver.

Recently, the former Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan was signed to a deal by Minnesota. Once hauling in a significant number of Aaron Rodgers touchdown passes, Tonyan is hardly a prolific top option. It should be assumed that he will operate as the primary pass-catcher from the position, but Oliver could be given an expanded chance to shine.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Last season with Minnesota, Oliver hauled in 22 of his 28 targets for just over 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It was easily his most substantial offensive production level since coming into the league, and he showed signs of being a reliable read when working through pass progression. Although he is considered more of a blocking tight end, Oliver should see those opportunities expand in the year ahead.

Kevin O’Connell will likely utilize Tonyan in the role that most demands a tight end to be a pass-catching weapon. Still, in two tight end sets, Oliver can get off the line and do more than simply hold back the opposition. He should be ahead of Johnny Mundt on the depth chart, which will often have him on the field. Playing on 42% of the offensive snaps a season ago, surpassing the 47% snap count he had with the Ravens in 2022, seems like a pretty fair bet.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Don’t think that Josh Oliver will suddenly win in a featured role, but with production needing to be made up, he should have a path to contribution.


Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.

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