Former $3 Million Bears Pass-Catcher Inks Deal With Vikings

Robert Tonyan, Minnesota Vikings

Getty Robert Tonyan #18 of the Chicago Bears.

The Chicago Bears and their NFC North counterparts have swapped players with relative frequency over the past couple of seasons, and one pass-catcher has now made the rounds across the entire division.

The Minnesota Vikings just signed Robert Tonyan Jr., becoming the fourth and final team in the NFC North to employ the tight end.

“The #Vikings have signed TE Robert Tonyan and waived LB Donovan Manuel,” the Vikings official X account posted on May 17.

Robert Tonyan Jr. Played Minimal Role for Bears, Could See It Increase With Vikings in 2024

Chicago Bears TE Robert Tonyan

GettyFormer Chicago Bears tight end Robert Tonyan Jr. has signed with the Minnesota Vikings.

Tonyan played for the Bears last season on a $2.65 million contract. He appeared in all 17 games, earning six starts, and tallied 11 catches for 112 receiving yards on just 17 targets, per Pro Football Reference. He did not find the end zone.

Tonyan’s deal in Chicago followed a five-year stint with the Green Bay Packers as one of the favorite targets of future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Tonyan’s NFL career actually began in 2017 as a member of the Detroit Lions, though he never appeared in a regular-season game for that franchise and earned just $28,800 for his time on the practice squad in Detroit, per Spotrac.

There is a chance that Tonyan could see significant field time against Chicago when the Bears take on the Vikings for the first time in Week 12 in November. However, Tonyan is likely just a bridge in Minnesota to the return of a healthy T.J. Hockenson, also a former member of the Lions and a two-time Pro Bowler, who tore up his knee late last season and continues to rehabilitate following surgery.

Hockenson will likely be a full-go before either of Chicago’s meetings with the Vikings, which could render Tonyan a minimal factor, or even a non-factor, in those matchups.

Cole Kmet Will Be Top Tight End Option in Bears’ Revamped Passing Attack This Season

Cole Kmet, Bears tight end who had some strong words for the Raiders.

GettyTight end Cole Kmet of the Chicago Bears is part of what should be a potent passing attack in 2024.

The Chicago passing attack featured Cole Kmet last year to the tune of career-highs in catches (73) and receiving yards (719), as well as 6 TDs. Kmet figures to feature heavily again in a vastly improved pass game in 2024 that includes the additions of wide receivers Keenan Allen and rookie Rome Odunze alongside DJ Moore, as well as quarterback Caleb Williams — the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2024 — who will replace Justin Fields as the starter in Week 1.

Kmet was second in all major receiving categories in Chicago last season behind only Moore, per StatMuse, though that doesn’t seem likely to repeat itself in 2024 with all the high-profile additions on offense and the likelihood that the Bears will air the football out more with Williams under center than they did with Fields.

The offseason developments in the Windy City rendered Tonyan — whose primary skills involve his pass-catching — a superfluous player on a roster that didn’t highlight him prevalently even last year, when doing so would have made more sense.

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