The Vikings’ Free Agency Options at TE

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The Minnesota Vikings look well set at TE on the surface with T.J. Hockenson and Josh Oliver. However, Hockenson seems likely to miss the start of the 2024 season on his road to recovery from an MCL and ACL injury.

Johnny Mundt and Nick Muse are free agents, leaving the Vikings with questions regarding the position’s depth. Minnesota will have to do something, so who are the Vikings’ free-agency options at TE?

The Vikings’ Free Agency Options at TE

Minnesota could see Mundt and Muse as adequate cover for Hockenson in the short term and choose to bring both back. Even so, with Hockenson possibly missing the first month of the season, the Vikings need to add another player to the mix. It will likely be a Day 3 draft pick or a cheap veteran free agent.

The highest-paid TE in the league is already on their books in Hockenson and Oliver on a $7 million per year contract. We can rule out the Vikings putting any more big money into the position. That rules out players like Dalton Schultz, Noah Fant, Gerald Everett, and Hunter Henry, but there are still some options on the table that would improve the Vikings squad without breaking the bank — a la Justin Jefferson.

Mike Gesicki

Options at TE
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After a down season in Miami, a move to New England didn’t provide the career boost Mike Gesicki sought. Gesicki caught 29 of 45 targets in a struggling offense for just 244 yards and two touchdowns. After two down seasons, the 28-year-old’s stock is low. He proposes a buy cheap with an upside option for the Vikings, and Gesicki can hold the fort while Hockenson is out and would increase the Vikings’ pass-catching options with everybody healthy.

Adam Trautman

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A tight end in a similar mold to Oliver, Adam Trautman would bring another physical TE into the group who will help on blocking assignments but is also able to make a big play as a receiver.

A third-round pick back by the Saints in 2020, Sean Payton, the coach who drafted him, brought him to the Broncos via trade last year. With his rookie contract at an end, he hits the market as an intriguing option. Trautman has never had a huge volume of targets — 116 over four seasons — but has 82 catches for 845 yards, at 10.3 yards per reception, and seven touchdowns through his career. A do-it-all reliable option that many teams would like to add to their ranks.

Austin Hooper

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If the Vikings want a cheap veteran pass catcher to fill the void in Hockenson’s absence, then Austin Hooper could be their guy. Hooper has generally been good for a few hundred yards and a few touchdowns throughout his career, including two Pro Bowl selections. Hooper saw a down year in 2023 with just 234 yards and no touchdowns.

However, it is worth noting that was on a Raiders team that was a mess under Josh McDaniels until the HC was fired and failed to register a single point against the Vikings in Week 14. Hooper would provide an option who can regularly line up in the slot and out wide during Hockenson’s absence while giving added flexibility to where TEs can be lined up when everyone is available.

Brock Wright

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Brick Wright got his time to shine in 2022, following Hockenson’s trade to the Vikings, finishing the season with 216 yards and four touchdowns off just 18 catches. After the Lions drafted Sam LaPorta, who put together a second-team All-Pro rookie season, Wright was back to playing second fiddle. Wright has proved trustworthy when called upon, catching 13 of just 14 targets for 91 yards and a touchdown in 2023. He would fulfill a similar role to Mundt while keeping with the Vikings and getting younger across the roster.