Vikings Training Camp 2021: Top 4 takeaways from Day 6

(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr.
(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr. /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr. and Dalvin Cook /

It will be odd to see the Minnesota Vikings without tight end Kyle Rudolph on the field as the starting tight end. The Notre Dame alum had been such a major part of the team for many years but now it is up to a new player to take the lead.

Irv Smith Jr. has been primed for a breakout for a while. With an expanded role and a bigger snap count, he should have career-high numbers in receptions, yardage, and touchdowns in 2021 barring any setbacks.

According to Courtney Cronin on Twitter, Smith has been excellent in training camp. She recounted a nice one-handed catch on Tuesday and how he scored twice in red-zone drills during practice.

Of course, Smith will be sharing receptions with quite a few players since Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson, and Dalvin Cook are all expected to have key roles in the Vikings passing game. However, having a shifty and reliable target like Smith should ease some of the pressure off those primary targets.