Midseason grades for the 2019 Minnesota Vikings offense

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins /
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(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr.
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr. /

Grading the Tight Ends

The Vikings have had contributions everywhere during their four-game winning streak, but the one position that has been noticeably absent has been the tight ends. After Kyle Rudolph initiated the drama to begin the offseason and got a $36 million extension as a result, the tight ends haven’t made a major impact.

In the case of Rudolph, you have to wonder what Minnesota was thinking by paying a guy who will turn 30 on November 9. Rudolph has been used as more of a blocker and although he snuck into the end zone for a touchdown against Detroit in Week 7, he’s been more of a non-factor with just 17 catches and 147 yards this season.

That has made Irv Smith Jr. the more intriguing of the two tight ends during the first half of the year. Smith hasn’t made a monster impact, but he’s shown what the Vikings were thinking when spending a second-round pick on the Alabama product last April.

Although his production (15 catches, 174 yards) has been modest, his route running and better than expected blocking has shown there’s plenty of upside as he continues to adjust to the pro game.

Smith Grade: B-

Rudolph Grade: C-