The 2014 NFL Draft is less than a week away and with that comes many decisions around the league. The Minnesota Vikings appear to have some major decisions at the quarterback position but while that is going on, the team also needs to consider options to catch the ball. There are some good tight ends on the board this year that can be used as a second tight end alongside Kyle Rudolph or as a receiver in their own right.
The position saw 94 targets between Rudolph and John Carlson last season but it is a new coaching staff in 2014 so those targets could decline if new coach Mike Zimmer wants to go that way. There are probably three names that could be potential picks for Minnesota later in the draft.
It is likely that the top two tight ends in Eric Ebron and Jace Amaro will be long gone before the team thinks about a tight end so it could be the third or fourth round before one is selected. Notre Dame’s Troy Niklas is a 6-7 monster who needs to work on his receiving skills some but can use that height to jump over small defenders and would need to slip some to the third round. He has work to do but as a second option could use a year or two to develop his game with Rudolph as a mentor. Here is Niklas in action.
If the team is willing to wait until later in the third round where they could use their second pick of the round, Iowa’s CJ Fiedorowicz is a great option. At 6-6 and 265 pounds, he played wide receiver in high school and has developed into a great blocker during his time with the Hawkeyes. His receiving numbers aren’t going to jump off the page but like Niklas, Fiedorowicz is a Jimmy Graham-type player with his size and athletic ability. Here is Fiedorowicz in action.
The final option could be with a player who can be had in the sixth or seventh round in Fresno State’s Marcel Jensen. He is 6-6 and has shown that he can be a bulldozer as a run blocker. That would be perfect in the Minnesota system opening up holes for Adrian Peterson. Jensen can also come up and catch some passes if needed around the goal line. This is the perfect pick if the team just wants to get a backup tight end onto the roster for blocking purposes only. Here is a look at Jensen in a short yardage situation.
There are several solid players there at the position. It is just up to the Vikings to decide if any of them are the right fit moving forward. That answer will be known sooner than later.