Vikings HC Mike Zimmer suggested at TE Tyler Conklin might be a bigger beneficiary of TE Kyle Rudolph's departure than TE Irv Smith. “I think it’s a bigger role for Tyler Conklin,” Zimmer said. “He’s kind of emerged as a guy that’s moving upward and with those two guys, we have a lot of weapons there. Irv always has been able to do what he’s been able to do whether Kyle was here or not." Conklin actually out-targeted Smith 21 to 20 over the final 4 games of last season with Rudolph sidelined. Smith just edged Conklin 118 to 106 in pass routes during that stretch. Smith remains the better 2021 fantasy bet -- but his role sans Rudolph might not grow as much as many are expecting. Conklin, meanwhile, is an intriguing end-of-draft flier in deep best-ball leagues, especially in the FFPC.
Vikings TE Tyler Conklin talked up his 2021 role in a chat with Bob Sansevere of TwinCities.com. “When Coach (Klint) Kubiak got hired as the new offensive coordinator, he reached out and talked to me, and just expressed that I’d be a bigger part of the offense. They’re excited for me to have that opportunity,” Conklin said. “And I think that’s really just what it comes down to. I mean, I think that people in the organization, people around me, are excited for me to have an opportunity...There’s probably a pretty good chance that, right from the get go, I’ll have a chance to make plays in the passing game and really help this team get to where we want to be.” The contract-year TE quietly caught 15 balls over the past month of 2020 with Kyle Rudolph sidelined. (Rudolph, of course, is a current free agent.) While Irv Smith remains the position group’s headliner, Conklin brings plus athleticism and should benefit from an offense heavy on 2-TE sets. He’s in play as a late-round target in FFPC drafts.