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5 Things to Know About New Vikings TE Blake Bell

View the Vikings roster as the front office made the final cuts to open the 2017 season.

The Vikings on Monday announced the signing of tight end Blake Bell, who spent his first two pro seasons with San Francisco.

The 49ers drafted Bell in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft with the 117th overall pick.

He was waived during San Francisco's roster reduction and claimed by Minnesota.

Here are five things to know about the 26-year-old from Wichita, Kansas.

1. Family tradition

Bell's father, Mark, played tight end and defensive end in the NFL from 1979-84 for the Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Colts and Indianapolis Colts.

Bell's uncle, Mike, was the second overall pick of the 1979 NFL Draft (by Kansas City) and played 12 seasons for the Chiefs. He started 99 of the 135 games he played for Kansas City from 1979-91.

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2. What's in a nickname?

Bell earned the nickname "Belldozer" during college when he was featured by the Oklahoma Sooners in goal-line and short-yardage situations. Bell broke the school record of rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 13 in just seven games in 2011.

He followed with 11 rushing touchdowns in 2012. The Sooners asked Bell to pass more in 2013 when he completed 140 of 233 passes for 1,648 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Bell then switched to tight end for his senior season and caught 16 passes for 214 yards with four touchdowns, but the nickname stuck.

3. Distinguished leadership

Bell was selected as the 2014 winner of the Bob Kalsu Award at Oklahoma. The award honors the former All-American tackle who died while serving in the U.S. Army in 1970. The award is presented annually to the player who "personifies Kalsu's spirit of leadership, serving as a motivator and role model for his teammates."

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4. Drafted in two leagues

The fourth-round selection by the 49ers in 2015 wasn't the first time that Bell had been drafted. He also was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 43rd round (1,303 overall) of the 2010 Major League Baseball draft but opted for football at Oklahoma.

5. So far in the NFL…

Bell has played in 27 games and made five starts in the past two seasons. He totaled 15 receptions for 186 yards as a rookie and added four catches for 85 yards last season while playing in his second offensive system in as many years.

Although the opportunities have been limited, Bell delivered big plays, recording long receptions of 48 yards in 2015 and of 45 yards in 2016.

He suited up for the 49ers against the Vikings in the third preseason game for both teams on Aug. 27, playing six snaps on offense and 19 on special teams.  

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