4 ways the Vikings can improve on offense in 2021

(Photo by Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr.
(Photo by Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr. /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr. /

More tight end involvement

Considering how high the hopes were for the tight end duo of Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. in 2020, it’s hard not to look at their overall production with anything other than disappointment. The Vikings targeted the pair just 80 times over the course of the campaign, which led to 58 receptions, 699 receiving yards, and six touchdowns.

Minnesota has plenty of mouths to feed on offense. However, getting their tight ends more involved next time around wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world considering there was no real wide receiver consistently putting up solid numbers behind Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.

Just who is going to be occupying the tight end positions is another matter entirely. There appears to be growing friction between Rudolph and the Vikings, with the player voicing his displeasure about how he was utilized in 2020. He is a possible candidate to be traded or even released, considering the financial implications involved.

Smith also has a few questions to answer after failing to reach the ceiling expected of him after being projected as a breakout player prior to the 2020 season. The former Alabama star has all the physical attributes in the world and he did show enough over the final few games to suggest another step forward might be possible in 2021.

If Rudolph is let go for the greater good, Minnesota needs to get another exciting young tight end prospect in this year’s NFL Draft. This would take some of the pressure of Smith and enable Klint Kubiak to deploy two tight-end sets that can be a nightmare for opposing defenses to cover.