Irv Smith Jr. is the wild card for the Minnesota Vikings in 2022

(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr.
(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr. /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr. – Minnesota Vikings /

What will Irv Smith’s 2022 season look like?

The Vikings are going to utilize their passing attack under Kevin O’Connell, that’s about as obvious as it gets with the new coaching staff coming in. Even with a run-first coaching staff handling the offense over the past eight years, Kirk Cousins found success pushing the field when the time was right.

With O’Connell, the Vikings probably won’t want to just wait for the time to be right to push the field and get vertical. The passing attack is expected to take a massive leap in 2022 with Justin Jefferson being the focal point of their down-field attack.

Adam Thielen can still be a very reliable second option in the passing game and K.J. Osborn is going to be able to fill in at times as a third weapon in the offense. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Ihmir Smith-Marsette in a larger role in his second season as the speedy weapon that has some plays designed for his skill set.

As long as that clicks, Irv Smith is going to be able to live in the middle of defenses as a mid-field vertical stretcher and red-zone nightmare. His size is enough to beat most linebackers down the field which will force safeties to either help the middle of the field or leave Smith in single coverage to help with Jefferson and Thielen.

Minnesota is going to find itself in a lot of promising situations in the passing game if Irv finds his groove after injury. Tyler Higbee found success in a similar offense for many of the same reasons that Irv Smith is projecting.

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If he plays a full season, Smith should finish in the range of 55 catches, 600 yards, and five touchdowns as the Minnesota Vikings continue to build a juggernaut offense. That is not an All-Pro level stat line but it would give the Vikings the final piece to make their offense a dangerous matchup each week.