The Vikings’ roster is almost ready for training camp this summer, and with that, the offseason transitions from the roster-building phase to the roster-evaluation phase. As we get our first look at the Vikings roster in action over the summer, it’s time to assess which players should be candidates to make the final 53-man roster during training camp. Today, we continue the “Road to 53” by talking about TE Nick Muse.
Nick Muse was barely on the radar of several colleges after his high school years, and he didn’t register with any of them. ESPN, in 3, rivalseither Sports 24/7 recruiting rankings. As a result, he committed to William & Mary University for his first season of college football.
He spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons with the program, recording a total of 34 receptions, 508 yards, and 2 TDs over the course of 13 games. After that 2018 season, with a 30-catch 2018 season under his belt, he transferred to South Carolina, where he spent the rest of his college career.
Muse’s first season with the Gamecocks was spent largely as a reserve, starting only one of the eight games he played in. He caught 17 passes for 158 yards that season. Following Kyle Markway’s departure from the show, he took over the title role in 2020 and 2021.
During those two seasons as a starter, Muse appeared in 23 games, catching 50 passes for 647 yards and 3 TDs. After a pair of eight-loss seasons in 2019 and 2020, South Carolina went 7-6 in 2021 and won the Duke’s Mayo Bowl against North Carolina.
After a couple of solid seasons against the SEC, Muse proved to do enough to sneak into the 2022 NFL Draft when the Minnesota Vikings selected him in the seventh round with the 227th overall pick. draft pick from the Vikings class who did not make the final 53-man roster, and was waived in August.
However, the Vikings were able to keep him on the practice squad, and after Irv Smith’s ankle injury, Muse was able to take the field in nine of Minnesota’s last 10 regular season games. He didn’t play offense all of last season, but he did see 108 snaps for special teams. Now, he enters the 2023 season hoping to make the roster after earning a reserve/future contract with the team this winter.
How Muse May Affect The Vikings Of 2023
Especially with the retirement of Ben Ellefson this spring, the door has been opened for Muse to make the roster this season. If the Vikings commit to playing with more than 12 members, it makes perfect sense for Minnesota to keep four tight ends on the roster. Assuming Muse ranks higher than Ben Sims, that’s his easiest path to the final 53.
If Muse makes the roster, he can continue to play special teams, but he’s certainly capable of contributing on offense as well. Muse was a decent blocker throughout his college career, with PFF giving him career blocking ratings of 74.5 in 2020 and 68.4 in 2021.
Obstacles in your way
At the end of the day, the top three tight ends seem pretty clear with TJ Hockenson, Josh Oliver and Johnny Mundt. Muse’s only hope of making the roster is for Minnesota to land a fourth tight end. It could be possible, but given the production of the top three and other areas that could use additional depth, it may be another instance where Muse narrowly misses the cut.
Ultimately, it looks like Muse is destined to be a practice squad player once again, unless an injury takes time away from a tight end above him again. He’s not the greatest tight end in the world, which could affect his blocking ability at the NFL level, and both Hockenson and Oliver should eat most targets at the position offensively. Muse should see field time again, but once again it will be from the practice squad.
Josh Frey is a graduate of The College of Idaho Class of 2020 and Managing Editor of PurplePTSD.com. When not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, playing, or cheering for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.