The Minnesota Vikings lost a tight end last week and have since filled that role.
The Las Vegas Raiders signed Vikings veteran tight end Jacob Hollister off the team’s practice squad on November 10, prompting Minnesota to sign former Jacksonville Jaguars tight end James O’Shaughnessy to replace Hollister, per a team release.
Hollister was considered to have significant upside in the offense but never caught a pass with the Vikings before the Raiders poached him off the practice squad.
Hockenson has done that admirably, securing 16 receptions on 19 targets for 115 yards in two games with the Vikings.
The new regime has shown it values the position immensely and has made more roster moves at tight end than any other position.
O’Shaughnessy offers needed depth with Irv Smith Jr. landing on the injured reserve list. He is familiar with Vikings wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell, who spent four seasons as the Jaguars wide receivers coach.
James O’Shaughnessy Offers Veteran Experience
A 2015 fifth-round draft pick, O’Shaughnessy spent the past five seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and four seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, the team that drafted him.
The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Illinois State product has played in 80 games with 40 starts, tallying 112 receptions for 1,108 yards and three touchdowns in seven NFL seasons. He was touted as an intriguing prospect for his combination of size and elite speed (4.64 40-time at his pro day) at the tight end position.
O’Shaughnessy, 30, has shown longevity in the NFL as a journeyman tight end, however, his career has been marred by a string of injuries over the past few seasons.
O’Shaughnessy tore his ACL in 2019, ending his season after he had played in just five games, ending an otherwise productive start to the season where he hauled in 14 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns.
He played in 15 out of 16 games the following season, while catching 28 passes for a career-high 262 yards before he landed on the injured reserve list at the start of the 2021 season. He missed eight games with an ankle injury before missing an additional two games with a hip injury.
O’Shaughnessy had a brief stint with the Chicago Bears in the offseason before he was released on August 30.
Vikings Offense Concretes Itself Into NFL Top 10
The biggest question mark entering Week 10 was whether the Vikings offense could overcome the league’s top-ranked defense in the Von Miller-led Buffalo Bills unit.
Minnesota answered the call, tallying 481 yards of total offense in a 33-30 win on November 13. The Vikings posted the most points by an opponent this season on the Bills, who entered the game allowing a league-best 14.8 points per game.
Kirk Cousins overcame Buffalo’s vaunted pass rush that pressured him on 39.3% of his dropbacks, per Pro Football Focus. It wasn’t pretty. Cousins completed 30 of 50 pass attempts for a season-high 357 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, but he made several key throws that resulted in his fifth comeback victory this season.
Meanwhile, Justin Jefferson had a trademark game that will go down in history. He caught 10 passes for 193 career-high yards and a touchdown. Five of his catches came inside the two-minute warning of the fourth quarter and overtime.
He accounted for four of the Vikings’ six biggest gains of the game. His one-handed catch in the fourth quarter will go down as one of the greatest catches of all time.
However, his most important catch came on a 24-yard connection in overtime that put the Vikings in scoring position at the Bills’ 2-yard line — ultimately clinching the Vikings their seventh straight victory this season.
Minnesota’s offense ranks eighth in scoring, averaging 25.1 points per game.