After spending three years with the Minnesota Vikings from 2019 to 2021, tight end Brandon Dillon is on the move, remaining in the NFC with one of the Vikings rivals.
Dillon signed with the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday.
An undrafted free agent from the 2019 class, Dillon played five games for the Vikings in three seasons, tallying 19 total offensive snaps. He caught one pass in the span, a 2020 game versus the Carolina Panthers in which the Vikings won 28-27. It was the game where Chad Beebe bungled the punt return but redeemed himself with a game-winning touchdown.
Dillon, 25, played collegiately at Marian, a private Roman Catholic university in Indiana. As a senior, Dillon was named a first-team NAIA All-American.
He evidently wasn’t a priority for the Vikings to re-sign, as Minnesota currently has Irv Smith Jr., Johnny Mundt, Ben Ellefson, and rookie Nick Muse on the 2022 summer roster. In New Orleans, Dillon will compete for a spot on the team’s 53-man roster, which will be announced in early September. He was previously signed by the New York Jets in December but only lasted on the roster for a few months.
The Saints are in a little bit of flux, continuing to navigate life with Drew Brees, who retired after the 2020 season. The team seems poised to start former 1st-overall pick Jameis Winston as QB1 again in 2022, although Andy Dalton lurks at QB2. Winston looked moderately impressive last year before succumbing to a season-ending injury. New Orleans will embark on a season without head coach Sean Payton attached to the enterprise for the first time since 2005. Payton retired, at least for a season, in the spring.
Down in the bayou, Dillon joins a TE room with the Saints already consisting of seven players. Adam Trautman figures to be the franchise’s TE1. The Saints are also the team that lists Taysom Hill officially as a tight end, but Hill acts as a Swiss army knife, even playing snaps at quarterback.
Generally speaking, Dillon has a severely uphill climb to make the final regular season roster. New Orleans also employs Nick Vannett at tight end who showed miniature flashes of promise with the Seattle Seahawks a few years ago.
Dillon reunites with former Vikings players Jaleel Johnson and Eric Wilson in New Orleans. The Vikings and Saints square off in London on October 2nd.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).