One of the biggest bright spots for the Vikings throughout training camp revolved around the rave reviews third-year tight end Irv Smith Jr. was receiving. Just two weeks prior to the start of the regular season some unfortunate news broke around the team’s starting tight end.
Smith Jr. is expected to undergo surgery for a meniscus injury that will reportedly sideline him for at least the start of the regular season, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
It seemed extremely likely that Smith Jr. was going to have his breakout year in 2021 with the departure of long-time tight end Kyle Rudolph signing with the Giants this offseason.
Instead, it will likely be Tyler Conklin getting first-team reps until Smith Jr. is ready to return to action. It’s also entirely possible that the Vikings scoop up a veteran presence at the position when teams around the league start making roster cuts ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.
The Vikings’ offense will take a significant blow with the loss of Smith Jr. and it’s still uncertain how long the timetable will be for his return. The good news is that the team will have Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook ready to go Week 1, giving the offense a boost from the lackluster performances this preseason.
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