5 second-year Vikings who could make a big jump in 2020

(Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) Dru Samia
(Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) Dru Samia /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr. /

Irv Smith Jr. – TE

The Vikings receiving corps is going to look much different in 2020. Longtime star Stefon Diggs was traded to the Buffalo Bills in March and he has been replaced by first-round pick, Justin Jefferson.

Laquon Treadwell is also gone and Minnesota could have other young faces like K.J. Osborn and Quartney Davis who could see plenty of targets during the upcoming season.

Irv Smith Jr. is a guy who is on the roster who was underused as a rookie but could have an expanded role in 2020. The Vikings took Smith in the second round of last year’s NFL Draft and while he was used sparingly in his first season, he still put up some solid numbers. In 2019, he caught 36 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns.

While he is only entering his second season, Smith will be one of the more experienced pass-catchers on the Minnesota offense. How much his role will increase depends largely on the development of Jefferson.

If the rookie receiver is slow to acclimate to the NFL, the Vikings could use two tight end sets more than they have in the past. This would get the talented Smith on the field more often and with his size and athletic ability, he’s a mismatch against linebackers and safeties.

Smith almost has a wide receiver’s frame and Minnesota could potentially even use him more as a pass-catcher in 2020 if they need to. Expect his targets to go way up during the upcoming season and his numbers could easily double his rookie totals as more opportunities come his way.