Recent news about Vikings TE Irv Smith Jr. is a bit concerning

(Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr.
(Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr. /

The Minnesota Vikings are apparently easing tight end Irv Smith Jr. back onto the practice field as he continues to recover from knee surgery last September.

Heading into the 2021 campaign, Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. appeared to be heading towards a breakout season.

Selected by the Vikings in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Smith displayed some flashes of potential during his first two years with the team, but he never managed to emerge as a vital piece of Minnesota’s offense.

So 2021 was going to be the season where Smith was going to take that next leap in his development that many felt he was capable of when he was a second-round pick. Unfortunately, no breakout year ended up happening for the Vikings tight end in 2021 as he was sidelined for the entire season after undergoing knee surgery last September.

Minnesota Vikings not rushing the recovery process of Irv Smith Jr.

Currently, Minnesota is in the middle of their voluntary OTA sessions. Smith has been in attendance, but he’s been doing lighter work on the side of the practice field with a trainer as he continues to recover from a surgery that he underwent almost eight months ago.

Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell said on Tuesday that the team isn’t going to “push [Smith] this early in the offseason until they get the green light from the [team doctors].”

If all goes well, Minnesota is anticipating that their young tight end will be fully ready in time for training camp this summer.

When Smith originally underwent surgery to repair his meniscus last September, the recovery time was expected to be around four to five months. As we mentioned earlier, it has now been almost eight months since his surgery.

Yes, of course, we should trust what the Vikings trainers and team doctors recommend when it comes to the tight end’s recovery from his injury. However, it is, at the very least, a little concerning that Smith is still being eased into team activities almost three months after the anticipated recovery time.

Honestly, the level of concern would be much higher if his injury was still being handled by the previous regime. So the new coaches and staff in the building are getting the benefit of the doubt with their approach to Smith’s recovery and their plan could definitely result in him returning to full strength in time for training camp.

For now though, the concern meter is slightly raised, and it will probably remain that way until we see Smith on the field for Minnesota’s first game of the 2022 regular season.

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