Why Irv Smith Jr. will be the Vikings TE1 by mid-season in 2020

(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr.
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr. /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Irv Smith – Minnesota Vikings /

Minnesota needs explosive plays

The Vikings traded Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills in the offseason. While they were fairly compensated in the deal, it always hurts to lose talented players and one that brought so many big plays to the offense. The Vikings will be trying hard to replace some of Diggs’ big-play ability with other players this season, and one player they should look to is Irv Smith Jr.

Diggs averaged an impressive 17.9 yards per catch a season ago. His longest reception went for 66 yards and when the Vikings needed a big play to spark their offense, Kirk Cousins often looked for Diggsy to provide it. Adam Thielen would be the logical choice to provide that big play as he averaged 13.9 yards a reception. However, with Diggs gone, he could see more double teams then he ever has before, which could force the Vikings to get creative. This is where Irv Smith could come in.

While Smith Jr. only averaged 8,6 yards a reception, he did have a couple of big plays that were called back due to a penalty. If those plays would’ve stood, that number would’ve been much higher. Smith resembles more of a receiver on the field rather than a tight end, and the Vikings will try to get that lanky frame of his one on one with more linebackers this season. There isn’t a linebacker in the league who can stay stride for stride with him, and that should result in some big plays coming from this young tight end.

With the Vikings looking to create explosive plays every week, it won’t take long for Smith Jr. to emerge as one of the playmakers on the team, and the number one option to throw to when it comes to the tight end position.