Minnesota Vikings Breakout Candidate No. 5: Irv Smith Jr.
The final player to make the list is one many are hoping takes a step forward in 2020.
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The Vikings selected tight end Irv Smith Jr. in the second round of the 2019 draft hoping he could provide the explosive weapon at the position the team had been lacking for years. While he didn’t see much playing time in the first half of the season, he took off once he got on the field.
Smith’s final eight games didn’t put up massive yardage totals with 137 yards, but he was more involved in the offense. Quarterback Kirk Cousins handed Smith 30 targets in the final eight contests, and Smith made 21 grabs including his first two professional touchdowns.
Although veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph is only 30 years old, Smith brings something the Vikings haven’t had from the tight end spot. If Smith were to break out, the Vikings could use him all over the formation, which should create opportunities for Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson. Plus with Smith’s ability to block, it should be something to keep him on the field outside of 12 personnel.
Those hoping for Smith to turn into the Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce are sure to be disappointed, but there’s a chance for him to step up and take a bigger role in the Vikings passing attack.