NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Jets traded tight end Chris Herndon to the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday, a person with direct knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.
Herndon was a fourth-round pick of the Jets in 2018 out of Miami. He had a promising rookie season, but never quite became the consistent playmaker New York was hoping for.
NFL Network first reported the trade as teams whittled their rosters to the maximum 53-player limit. The person confirmed the deal to the AP on condition of anonymity because neither team had announced the trade.
NFL Network also reported the Jets sent a 2022 sixth-round pick along with Herndon for a 2022 fourth-rounder.
The 25-year-old Herndon has 71 career catches for 796 yards and seven touchdowns in three seasons. He was in a competition this summer with Tyler Kroft, Ryan Griffin, Daniel Brown, Trevon Wesco and Kenny Yeboah. It appeared Kroft, a free-agent signing in March, had moved ahead of him on the depth chart. Griffin, Brown and Yeboah were all among the Jets’ 53-player cuts Tuesday.
Among the Jets’ other notable cuts included quarterbacks James Morgan, a fourth-round pick last year, and veteran Josh Johnson. That leaves just rookie Zach Wilson and Mike White, who hasn’t taken a regular-season snap, at the position.
Meanwhile, Herndon should step right into a starting role in Minnesota.
The Vikings found themselves in dire need of reinforcement at tight end, with a knee injury to their No. 1 option Irv Smith Jr. that will require surgery and keep him sidelined for at least a few games if not more, depending on how much repair is necessary for his meniscus.
Tyler Conklin has steadily improved as a blocker and a receiver. But after releasing 10-year veteran Kyle Rudolph during the offseason for salary cap savings, the Vikings were severely lacking experience at the position. Coach Mike Zimmer, asked Monday about the depth beyond Conklin said, “well, it’s not very good.”
The system under new offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak, who inherited the job and the scheme from his father Gary Kubiak, who retired earlier this year, makes frequent use of multiple tight ends to fuel a run-first attack that favors play-action passing. Zimmer said the Vikings would likely have to use more three-wide receiver formations while Smith is out.
The Vikings waived their other two tight ends on the roster, rookies Zach Davidson and Shane Zylstra, with spots on the practice squad yet to be filled. Smith could be placed on short-term injured reserve, a move that must wait until Wednesday or thereafter for him to be eligible to return after a three-game absence. Or perhaps he won’t go on IR at all, if the Vikings believe they can get him back sooner than that.
Former Jets guard Dakota Dozier, who lost his starting spot to Oli Udoh, was among the handful of veterans the Vikings released. Defensive end Everson Griffen, who just joined the team a week ago after the long-time Vikings pass rusher returned following a one-year hiatus with Dallas and Detroit, was also released but could be brought back once the many maneuverings are made around the league and teams scout who else is suddenly on the market, with rosters as always subject to change.