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After Irv Smith Jr. suffered a knee injury, the Minnesota Vikings began seeking a little help at tight end. On the bright side, it appears they have found their man in Chris Herndon.
According to Andrew Ortenberg of Pro Football Rumors, the Vikings have reached an agreement on a trade with the New York Jets that will send Herndon to Minnesota. All we know so far is the Jets are receiving “draft compensation” in return.
This move makes good sense. The Vikings lost longtime starter Kyle Rudolph during the offseason — and then came the news that Smith will undergo meniscus surgery that will sideline him for at least the start of the season.
That opened the door to find another tight end in a Minnesota franchise that is already filled with some question marks.
Herndon, 25, was at his best as a rookie in 2018, after the Jets selected him in the fourth round of the draft. He compiled 502 yards receiving and four touchdowns in his first season, showing flashes of what may be to come.
“Unfortunately he was suspended for the first four games of 2019 for a substance abuse policy violation, and then played in only one game that year after hurting himself,” Ortenberg wrote. “He returned to play all 16 games last year, but had only 287 yards as the Jets’ whole passing game struggled.”
So the deal is big for both the Vikings and Herndon. They need each other. The Vikings need him for depth issues at the position. Herndon, meanwhile, will be a free agent at season’s end. So he’ll likely welcome the new opportunity.
As for the Jets, Tyler Conklin will now be the starter at tight end, and he doesn’t really have any competition.
For the Vikings, it was a small move that could end up paying big dividends. They open the season Sunday, Sept. 12 on the road vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. Click here for Minnesota’s full schedule.