The Vikings have signed Shane Zylstra, according to his agent, Jaymeson Moten (via Twitter). Zylstra, who starred as a wide receiver at Minnesota State, will convert to tight end, as Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets.
If the last name sounds familiar, it’s because Zylstra’s older brother, Brandon Zylstra, signed with the Vikings in 2018 after a terrific couple of years in the Canadian Football League. He has been with the Panthers in each of the past two seasons, and while the CFL’s 2017 receiving yards leader has just 12 catches in his NFL career, he has served as a significant special teams contributor for both Minnesota and Carolina.
The younger Zylstra set Minnesota State records with 81 receptions for 1,676 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2019 — he was basically the D-II version of Ja’Marr Chase — but went undrafted last year. He will hope to follow in the footsteps of fellow Minnesota State alumnus and new teammate Adam Thielen.
Zylstra has put on 15 pounds of muscle for his position switch and is now up to 230 pounds, per Tomasson (Twitter link). The Vikings’ TE depth chart is currently topped by Irv Smith Jr., but beyond that, the club is rostering unproven talents Tyler Conklin, Brandon Dillon, and fifth-round rookie Zach Davidson. So Zylstra has a shot to make the team with a strong summer.
Tomasson notes that Zylstra also attracted interest from the Colts and 49ers (Twitter link).