Irv Smith Jr. is primed for a big season with the Vikings in 2020

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr.
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr. /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr. – Minnesota Vikings /

The Minnesota Vikings selected tight end Irv Smith Jr. in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. After a promising rookie season, Smith is ready to take the next step in the Vikings offense.

Irv Smith Jr. was somewhat of a surprising pick when the Minnesota Vikings selected him in 2019 despite having veterans on the roster. With Kyle Rudolph still in place as the starter, picking Smith was not a huge necessity. However, Rudolph is only getting older and the Vikings love to use two tight ends in the game plan.

Smith finished his rookie campaign with 36 catches for 311 yards and a pair of scores. With 47 passes thrown his way, the rookie tight end hauled in a staggering 76 percent of his targets. Still, he has not reached his ceiling, or anything remotely close to it.

The transition to the NFL has not been entirely kind to some of the best collegiate tight ends in recent memory. The early years are a bit rough as they get accustomed to NFL size and speed, but patience results in success.

Dallas Goedert, Zach Ertz, and David Njoku put up very similar numbers in their rookie years. Now, I am not saying that Smith is going to be at the level of Ertz in 2020, but his projection is similar. He took a tremendous leap over the course of his first season, giving the Vikings a reason to use him even more in 2020.

Smith should be the primary tight end for the Vikings in 2020, and his finish last year backs that up.