View photos of Vikings TE Ben Ellefson who recently joined the team.
EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings have added another tight end to their arsenal, the team announced Wednesday.
Minnesota claimed former Jaguars TE Ben Ellefson off waivers the day after trading for Jets TE Chris Herndon.
The additions occurred in the wake of news that Irv Smith, Jr., will miss a significant amount of time after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
Ellefson, who also celebrated his 25th birthday Wednesday, played seven games (four starts) for Jacksonville in 2020. He made one catch for 10 yards.
Here are five things to know about Ellefson:
1. Minnesota native
Ellefson is a native of Hawley, Minnesota, and was a three-year starter for Hawley High School at tight end and linebacker.
During his time under Head Coach Peder Naatz, Ellefson helped the Nuggets to a 41-6 record and three state tournaments in four seasons. He totaled 100 catches for 1,872 yards and 28 touchdowns.
As a senior, he was named the team's defensive MVP.
Ellefson is one of four Minnesota natives on the Vikings roster, joining receiver Adam Thielen (Detroit Lakes), fullback C.J. Ham (Duluth) and linebacker Ryan Connelly (Eden Prairie).
2. From Vikings All-State Team to Vikings … team
Ellefson may be new to the Vikings NFL roster, but following his senior campaign at Hawley he was named to the Minnesota Vikings All-State Team.
He also was recognized as one of nine 2015 Scholar Athletes at the Annual Minnesota Football Honors, presented by the Vikings.
Ellefson posted about the event on Instagram and included a photo of himself with receiver Adam Thielen, as well as with Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders.
3. Former Bison
Ellefson didn't stray too far from home for college.
He spent 2015-19 at North Dakota State University. After redshirting as a true freshman, Ellefson stepped in as a prominent blocker for the Bison in 2016 but did not catch a pass.
As a sophomore, he had only six catches but made them count with three touchdowns.
Ellefson was named Second-Team All-America by the American Football Coaches Association as a senior in 2019. He started 14 of 15 games played and was NDSU's fifth-leading receiver with 15 catches for 199 yards and five touchdowns.
4. Prides himself on run blocking
Ellefson excelled as a blocker at NDSU, and he prides himself on the ability to help running backs move the chains.
At Jacksonville, Ellefson was in competition with a handful of tight ends, including former quarterback Tim Tebow, who also was waived by the Jaguars, and he's focused more over the offseason on the passing game.
"I tried to establish myself as a run blocker, but if I can open up that pass game ability, I think that'll just help my career moving forward," Ellefson said in June.
5. Family guy
Ellefson is close with his family, which includes his mom, Kara; dad, Randy; and a younger sister, Mira.