Vikings Sign Athletic Tight End Who Tested Higher Than Kyle Pitts

Kevin O'Connell, Vikings

Getty Head coach Kevin O'Connell of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings have signed Chilean-born tight end Sammie Reyes, who has unmatched athleticism at the position that bests even Atlanta Falcons star Kyle Pitts.

Part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway (IPP) program, Reyes joins the Vikings without accounting for a spot on the 90-man roster.

The native of Talcahuano, Chile, appeared in 11 games for Washington in 2021 after entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent. Reyes, 28, became the first Chilean-born player to not only appear but also start in an NFL game that season.

He’s considered the most athletic tight end the NFL has ever seen.

“A Chilean basketball player who briefly played hoops at Tulane recently tested as the most-athletic size-adjusted TE to ever enter the NFL, per the RAS system. And yes, that includes Kyle Pitts.” Fantasy Pros’ Thor Nystrom tweeted in April 2021 with Reyes’ RAS results.

New Vikings TE Sammie Reyes is a Former Basketball Prodigy

Sammie Reyes

GettyChilean-born tight end Sammie Reyes joins the Vikings through the NFL’s International Pathways Program (IPP). He made played in 11 games and made one start with the Washington Commanders in 2021.

Before committing to football, Reyes was considered a basketball “prodigy,” making the U15 and U17 Chilean National Basketball team after dominating at the lower levels, per’s Keith Stackpole.

Reyes played sparingly at Tulane before finishing his career at Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana. While is basketball dreams were fleeting, those close to him told him to continue his pursuit to become a professional athlete.

“Every single person around me was begging me to play,” Reyes told Stackpole. “They were like, ‘You are too athletic not to be in the NFL, it’s insane.’ I’m 260 pounds and pretty fast and pretty strong, so everyone convinced me. My friends, my closest friends, my family, and I had over 12 agents reach out to me at the time.”

He began his football journey in 2020 and gave himself a year to make an NFL camp. The Commanders signed him the following year and he’s since shown to have staying power in the league despite never playing a football game in his life before the 2021 season.

Reyes is among several former Divison I basketball stars to break into professional football.

“My ability to run routes and go get the ball high up in the air are probably my biggest traits. I’m 6-6 and I can jump 40 inches, so if you throw me the ball up high, I’ll go get it,” Reyes said. “Creating separation from defenders, I just bring the basketball court into the field and just try to use my best impression of an Allen Iverson crossover and try and get open. And when it comes to blocking, just being physical and putting my head down and going to work. Just that underdog mentality, and the ability to block is going to be huge for me.”

Vikings to Miss T.J. Hockenson to Start 2024 Season?

T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings

GettyT.J. Hockenson #87 of the Minnesota Vikings.

Reyes’ arrival in Minnesota comes amid star tight end T.J. Hockenson‘s ongoing recovery from a knee injury he suffered late in the 2023 season.

Hockenson underwent surgery for torn ACL and MCLs, leaving his return to action uncertain. He declined to give a timeline to reporters during an April news conference.

“I think anything is possible,” Hockenson said on April 14. “I’m definitely not going to put a timeline on just because I haven’t really looked at the whole aspect of things.”

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