Former Pitt tight end Nakia Griffin-Stewart was not selected in the 2020 NFL draft, but he will get a shot at the NFL, as he was signed by the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent this weekend. The move places Griffin-Stewart on the same roster as former Pitt offensive lineman Brian O’Neill, who was drafted by the team two years ago and has since become a starter, blocking for Kirk Cousins.
Griffin-Stewart joined the Panthers as a graduate transfer from Rutgers and saw action as a blocker and pass-catcher in the Pitt offense. During the 2019 season, the Panthers adapted to the pass-heavy style of first-year offensive coordinator Mark Whipple after earning a reputation as a rushing team under Shawn Watson. After four years of minimal action in Piscataway, Griffin-Stewart became Pitt’s top tight end, with 185 receiving yards and one touchdown on 19 catches.
The 6’5”, 260-pound tight end’s lone touchdown catch of the 2019 season came in Pitt’s memorable 33-30 win over Duke in Durham last October. It was one of two touchdown receptions in his collegiate career, as he reeled one in as a redshirt sophomore in Rutgers’ 65-0 blowout of Morgan State in 2017.
In Minneapolis, Griffin-Stewart will join a Vikings team that has not posted a losing record since 2014. During the last five seasons, the team also won two NFC North division titles, made three playoff appearances and reached the NFC Championship Game.