Interesting tip: Oliver’s receiving yards have gone from 5.0 in 2019 to 7.3 in 2021 to 10.6 in 2022. Oliver caught 14 passes for 149 yards and 1-yard and 12-yard touchdowns for Baltimore last season .
Block Party: Pro Football Focus ranked Oliver as the eighth-best tight end in the NFL – two places behind TJ Hockenson – in 2022, noting that his run block mark of 74.0 made him one of only two tight ends to pass 70.0. PFF posted a 15.3% “positive blocking rate” to lead the NFL (closest: San Francisco’s George Kittle at 10.9%).
To the extension group: Oliver joins a room of tight ends that includes Hockenson, Johnny Mundt, Nick Muse and Ben Ellefson. The Vikings will have the ability to use more than 12 people (one running back and two tight ends) after using 11 people (one running back, one tight end and three receivers) last season. Hockenson is expected to be a prime target in the passing game after recording 60 receptions in the 10 games following his mid-season trade from Minnesota. After totaling 10 catches for 93 yards in 47 games with the Rams, Mundt had career bests 19 receptions for 140 yards and his first career touchdown on 21 targets last season.
Also note: Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell spoke at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine about wanting to reduce Minnesota’s number of negative runs in 2023. Oliver’s prowess as a run blocker could help the Minnesota to achieve this goal.
Sports Illustrated Will Ragatz weighed in on the potential impact of the signing: