Vikings tight end Tyler Conklin had the best game of his NFL career Sunday, and it’s not even close.
Conklin, a starter this season after serving mostly as a third-stringer in his first three years, had career highs of seven catches and 70 receiving yards in a 30-17 win over Seattle at U.S. Bank Stadium. After the game, he said his phone was “blowing up.”
“There’s only so many at this point, right?” Conklin said of any performances that could compare to Sunday’s. “But career high in catches with seven, so there’s not too many great ones to compare with at this moment.”
Conklin’s previous career high for catches was five at Tampa Bay last December, and his previous high for yards was 56 against Chicago, also last December. Conklin moved up that month to be the No. 2 tight end after Kyle Rudolph’s foot injury kept him out of the final four games of the 2020 season.
Rudolph was released in March, so Conklin was expected to head into this season as the No. 2 tight end behind Irv Smith Jr. But Smith suffered a season-ending knee injury in the final preseason game, making Conklin the starter.
Conklin caught six passes for 61 yards in the first two games combined. He exceeded those totals on Sunday alone.
“He’s doing a nice job,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “He’s a good, solid player and a good guy, and a good worker.”
Zimmer said Conklin, who played 54 of 75 snaps Sunday, is doing a good job blocking. He also complimented the blocking of backup tight end Ben Ellefson, who was in for 30 snaps.
Conklin remains the Vikings’ only tight end with a reception this season. Ellefson hasn’t been targeted in two games. And Chris Herndon, who had a third straight game Sunday with 12 snaps, has no receptions on two targets.
Talking to Dantzler
Zimmer said Monday he plans to talk to cornerback Cameron Dantzler about his cryptic tweet after Sunday’s game.
After not playing a single snap from scrimmage and getting nine snaps on special teams, Dantzler tweeted, “I’m tired of biting my tongue about this whole situation fr (for real).” He deleted the tweet later on Sunday.
“He will be talked to, yes,” Zimmer said.
Danzler started 10 of the 11 games he played as a rookie in 2020 before losing his job this season to Bashaud Breeland. He was inactive in a 27-24 overtime loss at Cincinnati in Week 1, with Zimmer saying he needed to play better on special teams.
Danzler did get in for 16 defensive snaps in Week 2’s 34-33 loss at Arizona, and broke up a third-down pass in the end zone late in the game.
Meanwhile, Breeland has struggled all season as the starter. He is ranked No. 103 — dead last — among all NFL cornerbacks by Pro Football Focus.
On Monday, defensive end Everson Griffen, who sat out at Arizona with a concussion, discussed the Sept. 16 car accident that resulted in his injury.
“I was just coming to work early in the morning, going about 45-50 on my highway and just cruising,” Griffen said. “Deer hopped out in front of me and my natural reaction is to not hit anything, and I swerve, and I glanced and hit a tree and then I just went sliding. I was like two feet from the lake, so it was scary. I’m a survivor, happy to be alive.”
Griffen said he felt “good” in his return to action against the Seahawks. He had three tackles, including a sack.
The Vikings signed tackle Blake Brandel to the practice squad after he cleared waivers Monday. Brandel was waived Saturday to clear room on the roster for running back Ameer Abdullah, who was signed off the practice squad.