The Vikings "Numbers Game!" (81-90)

Almost home! The Numbers Game has brought us to the 81-90 group, featuring the tight ends and a couple wide receivers trying to find a spot on the final Vikings roster! The #92Noon on air commentary can be heard below, but first, the synopsis --->

81 – WR OLABISI JOHNSON – ROOKIE FROM COLORADO STATE! 7TH ROUND DRAFT PICK AND ONE OF MANY FIGHTING FOR SPACE ON THE 53 MAN ROSTER. 6’0” 204LBS...I HAD HEARD THAT HE WAS A MATURE ROUTE RUNNER, PLAYMAKER, CERTAINLY A HOT NAME DURING ROOKIE CAMP/OTA BITS. OTHER THAN ZIMMER RIPPING THE COLLECTIVE GROUP OF YOUNG RECEIVERS TO THE MEDIA LAST WEEK, IT’S BEEN CRICKETS IN TERMS OF INTEL & BUZZ ON THE MAN THEY CALL “BISI," WITH THE EXCEPTION OF SOME RECENT PRAISE HE RECEIVED FROM COACHES. SINCE I THINK BEEBE IS A SHOE-IN AFTER DIGGS/THIELEN, THAT MEANS HE’LL BE FIGHTING FOR ONE OF 2-3 WR SPOTS.

82 – TE KYLE RUDOLPH – NEW CASH, FRESH PERSPECTIVE....THE TEAM DRAFTS IRV SMITH, JR AT PICK 50 AND SUDDENLY KYLE LOOKS FASTER IN CAMP THAN I’VE SEEN HIM IN 5 YEARS. STATISTICALLY, HE’S ESSENTIALLY THE MOST PRODUCTIVE TIGHT END IN VIKINGS HISTORY. AND HE’S BEEN A RED-ZONE DEMON FOR SEVERAL YEARS. EXCITED TO SEE HOW HE LINES UP IN THIS OFFENSE, COMBINING WITH THE AFOREMENTIONED SMITH, JR.

83 – TE TYLER CONKLIN – 5 CATCHES FOR 77 YARDS SUMS UP TYLER’S 2018 ROOKIE SEASON. HE WAS AVAILABLE, JUST DIDN’T GET ON THE FIELD MUCH. I THINK MOST OF HIS USAGE ACTUALLY CAME WHEN KEVIN STEFANSKI TOOK OVER PLAYCALLING DUTIES FOR THE 3 GAME, POST-DEFILIPPO ERA LAST YEAR. IN 2019, HE’S BACK, HEALTHY AND I THINK HE’S HAVING A GREAT CAMP. CAN’T SPEAK TO WHETHER HE CAN BLOCK ANYONE IN-LINE, BUT HE’S AN ATHLETIC PASS-CATCHER. I BELIEVE, AS OF NOW, HE’LL HAVE A SPOT ON THIS TEAM.

84 – TE IRV SMITH JR – THE WAY THE DRAFT FELL, I WAS ECSTATIC THAT THE TEAM LANDED “BIG IRV” WITH THE 50TH PICK. FROM MY STANDPOINT, HE’S JUST AS OFFENSIVELY GIFTED AS EITHER OF THE IOWA KIDS (TJ HOCKENSON & NOAH FANT) THAT WENT IN THE FIRST ROUND. WHILE KYLE IS CHILLING WITH A “VERY MINOR” KNOCK, IRV IS GETTING A TON OF REPS AND PERFORMING WELL. GARY KUBIAK SAID THAT IRV IS “SWIMMING IN IT,” IN TERMS OF GRASPING EVERYTHING BEING THROWN AT HIM, BUT IT’S TO BE EXPECTED AND HE’S ON SCHEDULE TO CONTRIBUTE TO THIS TEAM. **RUBE OPINION, I’M GONNA BE HONEST...IT’S RIDICULOUS THAT HE’S WEARING RANDY MOSS’ NUMBER. THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE WHEN THE ROSTER SHORTENS.

85 – WR ALEXANDER HOLLINS – UNDRAFTED ROOKIE...JUNIOR COLLEGE KID BEFORE SETTLING AT EASTERN ILLINOIS...HAD 80 CATCHES AND 1100 YARDS IN 2018, HE WAS ELITE FOR THE PANTHERS. 6’1” 170LBS. WATCHED HIM MAKE SEVERAL VERY NICE PLAYS IN THE SATURDAY NIGHT PRACTICE AGAINST 3RD TEAM DEFENDERS. HE’LL HAVE THE PRESEASON TO STEP UP IN A FAIRLY OPEN COMPETITION FOR WR SPOTS.

86 – TE BRANDON DILLON – COOL FACT: DILLON IS ONLY THE 2ND PLAYER EVER TO SIGN A CONTRACT OUT OF NAIA SCHOOL MARIAN(INDIANAPOLIS)! BIG BOY AT 6’5” 250...SEVERAL COACHES, INCLUDING ZIMMER, HAVE STATED THAT HE IS IMPRESSING AT TRAINING CAMP. WHETHER IT’S SPECIAL TEAMS AND RESERVE RELATED DUTIES, BRANDON IS CERTAINLY STARTING TO MUDDY THE WATERS OF THE TE POSITION....KYLE AND IRV ARE IN, THEN YOU HAVE CONKLIN, DILLON, AND A COUPLE GUYS STILL TO MENTION....

87 – TE COLE HIKUTINI – ECLIPSED 1000 YARDS RECEIVING AND HAD 11 TDs IN A COUPLE SEASONS AT LOUISVILLE(WAS A STUD FOR LAMAR JACKSON DURING HIS HEISMAN SEASON). UNDRAFTED 2017, DID PLAY 4 GAMES WITH THE 49ERS HIS ROOKIE YEAR, WAS WAIVED SEPT 2018 DURING FINAL CUTS AND THE VIKES SWOOPED HIM UP FOR THE PRACTICE SQUAD, WHERE HE REMAINED ALL SEASON. SIMILARLY TO THE O-LINE GROUP, NEW COACHES AND PHILOSOPHY MEANS POTENTIAL FOR OPPORTUNITY AT THE TIGHT END POSITION AS WELL...HIKUTINI IS A NEW NAME IN THE MIX, BUT THE KEY IS THAT HE’S VERY MUCH IN THE MIX.

89 – TE DAVID MORGAN – WAS UT-SAN ANTONIO’S FIRST EVER DRAFT PICK WHEN THE VIKINGS TOOK HIM IN THE 6TH ROUND BACK IN 2016. THROUGH 3 SEASONS, HE’S ACCUMULATED 16 RECEPTIONS AND 1 TD(AT WASHINGTON IN 2017). BLOCKING AND MOVING PEOPLE HAS BEEN HIS SPECIALTY. MISSED 5 GAMES LAST YEAR, AND HIS SPECIAL TEAMS WORK DECLINED DRASTICALLY (5% OF ST SNAPS IN 2018, COMPARED TO 24% IN 2017). HAS PROVEN TO BE EFFECTIVE AND RELIABLE AT WHAT HE’S ASKED TO DO WHEN HE’S ON THE FIELD. CURIOUS HOW “WHAT HE’S ASKED TO DO” IS CHANGING INTO 2019. HE’S GOT SOME COMPETITION FROM THOSE MENTIONED ABOVE, AND HE’S IN THE LAST YEAR OF HIS CONTRACT. ANOTHER CONCERN IS THAT HE HASN’T BEEN HEALTHY ENOUGH TO PARTICIPATE IN TRAINING CAMP, WHICH IS GIVING HIS COMPETITION A HEAD START.

 
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