Vikings Sign Former Ravens TE Josh Oliver to 3-Year Deal
Well, the Minnesota Vikings have made their first acquisition of the free agency period, and it’s a very surprising one. On Monday afternoon, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported that Minnesota had agreed to terms with TE Josh Oliver on a three-year contract worth a total of $24 million. The contract guarantees $10.75 million over the three years.
Oliver was selected 69th overall in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He spent his rookie season in Jacksonville where he played four games (including one start) and caught three passes for 15 yards.
However, injuries quickly got the better of the young tight end, and he spent multiple stints on IR with the Jaguars in 2019 and 2020 due to back and foot problems. Prior to the 2021 season, he was traded to the Baltimore Ravens for a conditional seventh-round pick.
With Baltimore, he blossomed into one of the better blocking tight ends in the entire NFL and played 31 games between 2021 and 2022 while also making 10 starts in the time. In two seasons with the Ravens, he caught 25 passes for 215 yards and a pair of touchdowns. 14 receptions, 149 yards, and both TDs came during the 2022 season.
Now, he joins the Vikings as one of the bigger comeback stories in the league, joining T.J. Hockenson in the tight end room. One of the problems with Minnesota’s tight end group has been an ability to block, but Kwesi Adofo-Mensah seems to have solved that problem, assuming Oliver stays healthy.
This move almost ensures that Irv Smith Jr. will not be returning to the Vikings in 2023, who is entering free agency as well after a pair of seasons that were derailed by injury. Smith tore his meniscus in preseason of 2021, ending his season before it could even begin, and he suffered a high-ankle sprain in 2022 that prompted a trade deadline acquisition of Hockenson.
As for Johnny Mundt, Chris Tomasson reported that this move should not impact his status on the roster for 2023. Mundt was acquired via free agency last offseason and is set to carry a $1.08 million cap hit this upcoming season.
Currently, we are still awaiting details as to what Oliver’s contract breakdown looks like, but as soon as those are released we will be sure to update this post including them.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.