5 Vikings who could be entering final season with the team in 2022

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Alexander Mattison
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Alexander Mattison /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr. /

Irv Smith Jr. – TE

There is a ton of talent within Irv Smith Jr. The tight end is physically gifted and even has the scope to completely take over a game when in the mood, but some significant injury problems over the last two seasons make this year a very important one regarding future aspirations.

The Minnesota Vikings felt they found their heir apparent to Kyle Rudolph by taking Smith in the second round out of Alabama. He represents a matchup nightmare thanks to some eye-catching athletic attributes, but availability is fast becoming a skill set in the NFL and unless the coaching staff can depend on the player, then his future will be up in the air.

Tyler Conklin left in free agency for a nice deal with the New York Jets. This puts even more pressure on Smith to stay healthy and produce the goods with almost no real alternatives on the depth chart right now.

That could change during the 2022 NFL Draft with some intriguing options set to be available on Day 2. Something the Vikings should consider as a contingency in the event a worst-case scenario happens with Smith once again.

There is nothing to suggest Smith cannot have a true breakout campaign providing he puts a consistent run of games together. If he can accomplish this feat, then the Vikings will be much better off for it.