Minnesota Vikings tight end David Morgan, a 2008 Marble Falls High School graduate, turns to make a catch during rookie minicamp in May. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings
JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — David Morgan is enjoying a few weeks of rest before he re-enters the Viking battle.
The 2011 Marble Falls High School graduate will return to Minnesota at the end of July for the start of Vikings training camp as he fights for a spot on the NFL team’s roster.
But before that, the rookie tight end will make an appearance from 5-7 p.m. July 22 at Cecil Atkisson Motors, 2601 S. Water St. (U.S. 281) in Burnet, where he’ll sign items and meet fans.
But he’s not on vacation; Morgan is working out on his own during the break between the rookie minicamp in May and training camp.
“It was really fun,” he said of the weeks he spent at the Vikings facility near Minneapolis.
He used the time getting to know his new teammates, especially the veteran tight ends, and learning a new offensive scheme. He shared a two-bedroom hotel suite with rookie tackle Wilie Beavers.
When he wasn’t practicing, he took in the sights of Minneapolis and even attended a Twins baseball game.
“I met a lot of great guys; I got to go out and meet people,” he said.
After five years at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Morgan was drafted No. 188 in the sixth round during the 2016 NFL Draft on April 30. Within days, he was on his way to Minnesota, where he stayed until June 22. He was able to come back to Texas for a short weekend before the extended break.
In May, he participated in a rookie minicamp, team activities and offseason training.
The 90-minute practices took place without pads, making it difficult for Morgan to showcase some of the elements of his game that made the Vikings draft him, including his blocking.
So he took it as an opportunity to display his knowledge of his role in each play.
The team’s starting tight end, Rhett Ellison, is recovering from a knee injury. So the Vikings will rely heavily on Kyle Rudolph. But since the team utilizes a double tight end system, coaches and front office officials wanted another tight end who could block, make catches in traffic and carry would-be tacklers for first downs.
That’s why Minnesota moved up in the sixth round to draft Morgan.
And though each is fighting for a roster spot, the former Mustang said the veteran tight ends have been welcoming.
“They’re very helpful,” he said. “I always know whatever I need; they’re always there to help me out.”
Morgan was equally enthusiastic about tight ends coach Pat Shurmur, the former head coach of the Cleveland Browns and the Philadelphia Eagles. Because of his offensive background — Shurmur has coached offensive lines, tight ends and quarterbacks — Morgan said he has learned some things that will make him a better player.
“He knows the game really well,” Morgan said of Shurmur.
And he also enjoyed working with Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, noting the belief is he’ll have another great year.
Morgan said his goal is to make the Vikings’ 53-man roster, which means he would be on the travel squad for all games.
“It’s what everyone is shooting for,” he said. “I feel like they’re giving me an equal opportunity. I want to make the most of every opportunity, every chance I get. I’m a hard worker, I work hard, I give a lot of effort.”
He is due back July 27, one day before the start of training camp at Minnesota State University in Mankato, the training camp home of the Vikings for 51 years.
The Vikings begin preseason play against the Cincinnati Bengals at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12.