Three Vikings who need more reps in 2021

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Jack White
·2 min read
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Despite missing out on the playoffs in 2020, the Vikings have some things to look forward to for next season.

During its down year, Minnesota played plenty of rookies and other younger players who are primed for progression and possibly bigger roles in 2021.

Here are three of those players, all of whom impressed at times with just a small number of reps. If given more playing time, maybe these three can turn into starting-caliber NFL players.

Here is the list:

RB Alexander Mattison

Photo: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

In 2020, Mattison once again made progress as a reliable backup running back. However, he struggled against the Falcons in a starting role. In Week 17, he was given the start again and he played pretty well. Mattison was promising as a rookie, but in his second NFL season, he received less carries than he did the year before, even though he played the same number of games. I'm not arguing for Mattison to take Dalvin Cook's place, but I do think that he could ease Cook's workload in 2021. Minnesota should give Mattison more than 96 carries, the total he had this past season.

CB Harrison Hand

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Harrison Hand. Photo: AP Photo/David Berding

CB Cameron Dantzler was the only cornerback on the Vikings to receive a better PFF grade than Hand in 2020. Hand tallied one interception and three passes defended this past season. Despite that, Hand played just 106 snaps as a rookie. I think Minnesota should see if he can stay as effective with more reps in 2021. Hey, if he made the switch to safety, there's a chance he could be a starter. Not saying that will happen, but it's an idea.

TE Tyler Conklin

Photo: AP Photo/David Berding

This is probably the only player on this list to be incredibly likely to get a significant number of more reps. That's because the team released TE Kyle Rudolph this offseason. That opens up the tight end No. 1 spot, which will presumably be filled by Irv Smith Jr. That leaves tight end spot No. 2 open. Will Conklin be good enough to fill it? There's certainly a chance of that. He had 194 receiving yards and a touchdown reception on 26 targets in 2020. Conklin doesn't have to be electrifying as a tight end two, but if he can keep the mistakes to a minimum and be a reliable blocker, he could secure the spot and be looking at bigger numbers because of it.

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