EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings on Tuesday announced they are bringing back Rhett Ellison, who is working his way back from a knee injury.
Ellison, a versatile tight end best known for his blocking tenacity, caught 11 passes for 124 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown at Oakland and a 41-yard gain at Arizona in 2015. He's also been a solid contributor on special teams.
"Rhett is a guy who does an awful lot of things," Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said of Ellison during the season. "He helps in protection, he helps in blocking and the running game. He's done a good job with really everything."
The 2012 fourth-round pick (128th overall) out of Southern California has helped Adrian Peterson win two of his three NFL rushing titles (2012 and 2015) and the 2012 NFL MVP.
Ellison has started 35 of the 58 games he's played in four seasons, totaling 42 receptions for 458 yards and three touchdowns. He also has 25 tackles on special teams to his credit.
Unfortunately, Ellison suffered a knee injury at Green Bay in the regular season finale when Minnesota claimed the NFC North. It required surgery and kept him from playing in the Vikings Wild Card game.
Because of his spirit and toughness, Ellison was selected to sound the Gjallarhorn before what became the coldest game in franchise history.
"Rhett's work ethic and contributions to this team run deep," Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said in the lead-up to Ellison sounding the horn. "His commitment to doing his job, which includes a lot of dirty work, is a big reason why we were able to win the NFC North."
The Vikings have extended second contracts to four members of the 2012 draft class (Ellison, Jarius Wright, Blair Walsh and Audie Cole), the first group selected by the Vikings with Spielman in his role as GM. The team also has exercised fifth-year options on 2012 first-round picks Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith.
Ellison will join returning teammates Kyle Rudolph and MyCole Pruitt under the tutelage of new tight ends coach Pat Shurmur in 2016.