Vikings deliver unfortunate news about TE Irv Smith Jr.

(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr.
(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr. /

Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. left practice on Monday with an apparent injury. On Tuesday, the team gave an update on his future.

As the Minnesota Vikings entered training camp, the inevitable injuries were bound to happen. Unfortunately for Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr., he’s dealing with another ailment.

Smith left Minnesota’s practice early on Monday with what some speculated as a possible injury, leaving his immediate future with the Vikings a mystery.

On Tuesday, Minnesota head coach Kevin O’Connell announced that Smith has had surgery on his thumb, but the team is hoping he will still be ready for the start of the regular season.

The tight end is unfortunately no stranger to injuries, having missed the entire 2021 season with a knee injury. While the regular season is still in reach for Smith, he’ll now miss out on reps with the team in camp, the preseason, and just a chance to get his feet wet before the regular season begins.

What the injury to Irv Smith Jr. means for the Minnesota Vikings going forward

With Smith missing all of last season, and now with him expected to miss at least this year’s preseason, the Vikings will have to look beyond the 2019 second-round pick to serve as their starting tight end this summer.

Minnesota is no stranger to this scenario, having traded for New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon last season to replace Smith, while also relying on Tyler Conklin to make up for his loss.

But with Herndon and Conklin both no longer with the Vikings, the team will look towards the likes of Johnny Mundt, Ben Ellefson, and rookie Nick Muse to carry the reigns during training camp and preseason as Smith heals from his injury.

Another trade could be an option for Minnesota, as well as bringing in a free agent, such as Herndon, as a camp body at the very least. But for the second year in a row, the Vikings now face an unknown that revolves around the once planned tight end of the future.

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