Vikings May Have Found Hidden Gem in Ex-Packer Dominating Minicamp

The Minnesota Vikings are likely to be without two-time Pro Bowl tight end T.J. Hockenson for several games to being the upcoming season.

But a recent addition to the roster has some insiders thinking, “No Hockenson? No problem.” The reason for that is long-time Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan, who played last season as a member of the Chicago Bears.

Alec Lewis of The Athletic reported that Tonyan proved himself among the standout performers at Vikings minicamp last week.

Robert Tonyan has looked great in minicamp. No hyperbole. Catching everything, snagged multiple passes in red-zone period today, outstretched arms, toe-tapping in corner of the end zone. Just impressive.

— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) June 5, 2024

“Robert Tonyan has looked great in minicamp,” Lewis posted to X on Wednesday, June 5. “No hyperbole. Catching everything, snagged multiple passes in red-zone period today, outstretched arms, toe-tapping in the corner of the end zone. Just impressive.”

Robert Tonyan Playing for Vikings on Value Deal in 2024

GettyFormer Packers tight end Robert Tonyan is playing well during Minnesota Vikings minicamp.

Tonyan has had just one truly high-level season since seeing his first snaps as a pro in 2018. However, he is also a player that quarterback Aaron Rodgers said in 2022 was capable of playing at a “Pro Bowl-caliber level.”

The tight end played five seasons in Green Bay, amassing totals of 137 receptions, 1,437 receiving yards and 17 TDs, per Pro Football Reference. His best individual campaign came in 2020 when he caught 52 passes for 586 yards and 11 scores.

An ACL tear sidelined Tonyan for much of the 2021 campaign, and he then departed the organization at the same time Rodgers left following the 2022 season. Tonyan landed in Chicago last year but didn’t see significant usage in the passing game, making just 11 catches for 112 yards despite appearing in all 17 contests.

Tonyan will play the upcoming season at just 30 years old and is in Minnesota on a team-friendly deal that pays him only $1.125 million and includes just $150,000 in total guaranteed money.

Robert Tonyan Should Have at Least 1 Full Month to Showcase Pass-Catching Skills for Vikings

GettyTight end Robert Tonyan Jr., formerly of the Green Bay Packers.

While Tonyan saw only 17 targets come his way in the Windy City last season, he’s liable to get more bites at the apple with the Vikings in 2024 — at least to begin the year.

Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune predicted in May that Hockenson will sit out the first five games of 2024 as he continues to rehabilitate from a severe knee injury that knocked him out late last season. The Vikings have an early bye in Week 6, after which the team will take on the Detroit Lions — Hockenson’s former squad and the defense he was playing against when he hurt his knee.

Per @BenGoessling via @AccessVikings, he imagines #Vikings TE T.J. Hockenson will start the season on the PUP list and miss the first 6 weeks, returning for the week 7 game against the Lions 👀

“Because I would imagine [T.J. Hockenson is] on the PUP list through 6 weeks. Week 6… pic.twitter.com/DuAIXbwpJI

— The Purple Persuasion (@TPPSkol) May 19, 2024

“Because I would imagine [T.J. Hockenson is] on the PUP list through (six) weeks,” Goessling said, per The Purple Persuasion X account. “Week 6 bye is conveniently timed here. And then, oh, look who’s on the schedule Week 7. His old buddy, Kirby Joseph.”

The Vikings don’t have any true pass-catching options behind Hockenson and outside of Tonyan, as the trio of Josh Oliver, Johnny Mundt and Nick Muse logged just 39 receptions for 385 yards and 3 TDs between them last season, according to statistics provided by ESPN.

If he stays healthy, Tonyan should get the opportunity to help Minnesota’s passing game significantly while playing alongside a ton of wide receiver talent in Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison, which could potentially reinvigorate the tight end’s career and set the stage for a second act elsewhere in the future.

Like Heavy.com’s content? Be sure to follow us.

This article was originally published on Heavy.com

The post Vikings May Have Found Hidden Gem in Ex-Packer Dominating Minicamp appeared first on Heavy.com.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *