5 Vikings free agents Minnesota needs to bring back

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)
Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Tyler Conklin, Vikings
Minnesota Vikings tight end Tyler Conklin. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports) /

3. Tyler Conklin

The Vikings picked up Tyler Conklin in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft and up until this season his role largely revolved around special teams. Coming into 2021, the idea of bringing back Conklin wouldn’t exactly have been high on the list of needs.

Things changed when Kyle Rudolph left for New York and his presumed replacement, Irv Smith Jr., suffered a season-ending injury. Minnesota turned to Conklin and he stepped up beautifully.

During his career-best campaign, Conklin caught 61 passes for 593 yards and three touchdowns. He was fourth among Vikings pass-catchers.

Conklin will enter free agency with the market for him better than it ever would have been expected. Competition may make it tough for Minnesota to sign him up but the prospect of deploying Conklin and a healthy Smith together should make it worth it for them to try.

Having proven himself capable as a receiving target, Conklin still needs to sharpen up his reliability as a blocker. Still, the Vikings have seen what he can do and should be eager to bring him back.