Minnesota Vikings Unsung Heroes: Week 8 vs. the Green Bay Packers

(Photo by Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports) D.J. Wonnum
(Photo by Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports) D.J. Wonnum /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr. /

Offensive Unsung Hero from Week 8:

Irv Smith Jr. – TE

Irv Smith Jr. continues to be underappreciated in Minnesota’s offense this season. Many had high hopes for his sophomore season, especially as a receiving threat next to Kyle Rudolph. Unfortunately for Smith, he has not taken that leap in the passing game. But it may not be entirely his fault.

While he remains the secondary tight end in the passing game, he has seen tremendous improvement as a blocker. He was wonderful in front of Dalvin Cook on Sunday in Green Bay and he helped open running lanes on multiple scores.

The Vikings can find plenty of solace in Smith’s improvements as a blocking tight end, especially considering he was considered a one-dimensional tight end by some before the 2019 NFL Draft.

Sunday’s performance in the run game catapulted Minnesota’s offense and let Cook be the focal point once again. As the passing game continues to have its ups and downs, the run game is thriving behind Cook and the tight ends.

One of these days, Smith will be rewarded for his efforts behind the scenes.