Unsung Hero: Tyler Conklin Has Career Day Against Seattle
Tight end Tyler Conklin has minimized concerns so far that Vikings fans had following news that starter Irv Smith, Jr. would miss the entire season following meniscus surgery. After two decent games to open the 2021 season, Conklin turned in the best game of his four-year career against the Seahawks on Sunday.
Tyler Conklin’s Sunday Performance
Conklin became involved in the gameplan early. Following a Seattle touchdown to open the game, Kirk Cousins found Conklin for 17 yards. Four plays later at the Seattle 7-yard line, Conklin beat Seahawks’ linebacker Jordyn Brooks on an out-route near the goal-line. Cousins fired the pass to Conklin to give the Vikings the tying-score.
Down 17-14 late in the second quarter, the Vikings’ offense was driving and was in field goal range. With 24 seconds left at the Seattle 19-yard line, Cousins found Conklin on a short pass to the right before Conklin rumbled down to the 3-yard line. The play gave the Vikings the green light to go for a touchdown instead, and on the next play Cousins found Justin Jefferson for a touchdown to give Minnesota a 21-17 lead.
In all, Conklin caught seven passes on eight total targets in the 30-17 victory. He accumulated 70 yards receiving (32 of those coming after contact), four first downs, and the touchdown. Conklin even gave a solid effort in the running game with a 59.6 run-blocking score from Pro Football Focus. Overall, he was the fourth-highest-rated offensive player on the team.
It’s going to be hard for Tyler Conklin to stay under the radar if the Vikings continue utilizing him as they did Sunday. He somewhat surprisingly only stands 6-foot-3, but at 248 pounds, he can be a force with the ball in his hands. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see Smith this season to form a potent 1-2 punch at tight end. Having said that, right now Conklin is showing that he can be the guy for the Vikings moving forward.