Minnesota Vikings fifth-round rookie Zach Davidson is a punter by trade but is proving his prowess as a tight end.
Davidson made his presence felt with a one-handed grab during OTAs last week — flashing his receiving skills that could make him a contender for a roster spot with his unique skill set as a backup punter and tight end.
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Davidson: A Record-Breaking Punter & Tight End
A special athlete with size and speed, Davidson, standing 6-foot-7, clocked a 4.62 40-yard dash at his pro day. Davidson’s performance landed on NFL scouts’ radars and ultimately led to becoming the first of three Division II talents drafted this year.
Davidson is just scratching the surface of the tight end position, playing as a full-time tight end just one season in his entire football career after committing to Central Missouri as a punter in 2016.
He caught just 11 passes through the first three seasons with the Mules before breaking out his junior year — catching 40 passes for 894 yards and 15 touchdowns and averaging 22.4 yards per catch as a first-team All-American in 2019.
Davidson lost his senior season to the COVID-19 pandemic and is still one of the rawest tight end prospects in his class. However, it’s been a matter of months that Davidson has even been assessed for his abilities as a pass-catcher and after an awe-inspiring showing at his Pro Day.
Davidson shattered school records in his lone season as a true tight end complementing his punting abilities as one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft. He became the first Central Missouri player to be drafted since 2006. That player? Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker.
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Davidson Joins Diverse Tight End Group
For the first time in a decade, the Vikings will not have the hands of Kyle Rudolph as a safety net.
Irv Smith Jr. is poised for a breakout campaign in his third NFL season, while Tyler Conklin flashed promise as the No. 2 tight end last season, catching his first NFL touchdown.
However, beyond Smith and Conklin, both undersized at the position, the Vikings have diverse weapons in 2019 undrafted free agent Brandon Dillon, Minnesota native Shane Zylstra and Davidson.
Zylstra and Davidson are both leaner tight ends that could struggle as blockers early but could compensate with their receiving abilities.
Davidson has an added advantage to make the final roster with his punting abilities — making him a unicorn for the Vikings as a potential backup punter and tight end.