Bad News for Vikings Run Game, Homegrown Tight End to Miss Next Month

Ben Ellefson

Courtesy of Vikings Vikings tight end Ben Ellefson landed on the injured reserve list on October 8, 2022 after dealing with a groin injury in practice.

The Minnesota Vikings tight-end room took a hit with Ben Ellefson landing on the injured reserve list on Saturday, October 8, per a team report.

Ellefson was listed with a groin injury and will miss at least the next four games before he is eligible to be reactive to the 53-man roster. A native of Hawley, Minnesota, Ellefson was a three-star recruit coming out of high school and won three FCS national championships at North Dakota State.

He was undrafted in 2020 and spent his rookie season with the Jacksonville Jaguars before the Vikings signed him last season. Ellefson played in four games of the 2021 season before his season ended, landing on the injured reserve list after suffering foot and knee injuries.

Indications are pointing toward Ellefson’s groin injury being minor and that he is expected to return to the roster, per Pioneer Press reporter Chris Tomasson.

In the meantime, the Vikings have elevated rookie tight end Nick Muse, a seventh-round pick, to the roster ahead of Sunday’s matchup with the Chicago Bears. Muse will serve as the third tight end behind Irv Smith Jr. and Johnny Mundt.

Veteran tight end Jacob Hollister, who a source close to the Vikings told Heavy could be “really productive” in the offense remains on the practice squad as of Saturday night. He was signed on September 27 and likely doesn’t have a full grasp of the offense.

Ellefson the Best Run-Blocking Tight End for Vikings

While the Vikings’ running game has struggled as a whole, Ellefson has posted the best Pro Football Focus run-blocking grade (59.8) of any tight end on the roster.

Smith and Mundt are both willing blockers, however, Muse, is green and may not be deployed as a blocker in what could be his first time touching the field in a regular season game.

However, it appears the Vikings are more confident in Muse at this juncture over the sixth-year veteran in Hollister.

Hollister has shown more prowess in the passing game over his career, tallying 83 receptions for 707 yards and seven touchdowns — more than any member of the Vikings tight end group. He may be more in line for a receiving role if Smith or Mundt miss time, while Muse is more integrated into the offense for the moment.

“I’m not sure Hollister is going to replace Smith,” a league source with knowledge of the Vikings’ thinking told Heavy, on the condition of anonymity to speak freely, per insider Matt Lombardo. “But he definitely has the chance to get involved in and be really productive in that offense.”

Another Vikings Rookie Could Make NFL Debut on Sunday

Muse isn’t the only Vikings rookie who could make his NFL debut on Sunday. Second-round pick Andrew Booth Jr., who has been dealing with a nagging quad injury he sustained in the preseason.

“I think I’m very close,” Booth told KSTP’s Darren Wolfson. “It’s burning to definitely get back out there with my team. You see how special teams is flying around — anyway I can get out there.”

Booth flashed promise in training camp and could push for snaps on defense along with helping out on special teams.

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