The Seattle Seahawks are getting creative as the team signed former Baylor starting forward Mark Vital. The Seahawks are giving Vital an opportunity to transition from basketball to football by signing the ex-hoops standout to the team’s practice squad.
Vital is hoping to become an NFL tight end and the Seahawks have signed a number of former basketball players this offseason with the same idea in mind. The majority of these players have had short stints in Seattle, but Vital could receive more of an opportunity given how close to the season the Seahawks are signing him.
The former forward averaged 5.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals in 30 starts for Baylor last season. The big man played a key role in Baylor’s national championship win over Gonzaga posting six points, 11 rebounds and two assists in the victory.
Vital Is Landing Comparisons to Legendary TE Antonio Gates
Vital has not played football since middle school but his offseason workouts drew praise from NFL teams. The former Baylor player noted he is getting comparisons to a legendary tight end who also had a basketball background.
“I feel like I can be a Hall of Famer,” Vital told KPLC 7 News. “I’m already getting compared to Antonio Gates from different scouts and teams when hearing them talk about me. I’m already getting compared to a Hall of Famer and that’s motivation to me to get to that level,” admitted Vital. “I can see the similarities. He and I are both explosive, fast and big. We are built the same.”
Vital faces a long road to seeing the field given the Seahawks deep tight end group. New addition Gerald Everett along with Will Dissly could share the field often in two tight end sets. The Seahawks also have Colby Parkinson who is recovering from a foot injury.
“This is a really strong group for us,” Carroll said in June, per Seahawks.com. “Will being healthy now, we know he’s going to have a great shot at having a hell of a camp and be able to do his stuff. Will can do everything, he can catch the football, he can run with it after, and he’s our biggest, best on-line blocker. So he kind of sets it, that’s kind of the stability of the position. Gerald brings some factors that we have not had here before—his route running ability, his speed. If you watch his stuff, his run-after-catch is excellent. He’s a very, very aggressive runner with the football, which is really exciting.”
Vital Played on the Blazers Summer League Team
The newest Seahawks tight end’s football journey is just starting as Vital played on the Blazers Summer League team. Vital admitted he turned down a few NBA two-way offers as well as overseas deals to play basketball professionally.
“I’ve worked out for a couple of teams and they liked the way I looked,” Vital explained. “They said I had great hands and I was fast and big. I can do a lot of things that can help teams. It’s a learning experience because it’s something different.”