Vikings give optimistic update about TE Irv Smith Jr.
By Adam Patrick
After recently suffering a thumb injury, Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. seems to still be on track to play in Week 1 of the regular season.
Following a disappointing 2021 season where he didn’t even get on the field for a single snap due to a knee injury, Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. seemed more motivated than ever when he arrived at the team’s training camp earlier this summer.
Camp appeared to be going well for Smith at first. But then, the young tight end suffered a thumb injury that required surgery, and he’s been out of action ever since.
When Smith first sustained the injury a few weeks ago, Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell said that the team was hoping their top tight end would be recovered in time for their regular-season opener against the Green Bay Packers. On Thursday, O’Connell provided an update on Smith, and it sounds like the young pass-catcher should be on the field to face Minnesota’s NFC North rival.
Minnesota Vikings say Irv Smith Jr. is on track to play in Week 1
Before the Vikings’ second joint practice with the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday, O’Connell met with the local Twin Cities media, and he was asked whether Smith is still on track to play in the team’s regular-season opener. Here’s what Minnesota’s head coach had to say about his team’s No. 1 tight end.
"“Yes, he is [on track for Week 1]. Everything with Irv has been really positive. You guys will see him during these practices, he’s out there with coach [Brian Angelichio]. He’s done a ton of work on the side. He’s now allowed to start sweating and making sure he’s keeping his conditioning where we need it.We’ll pick some spots over the next couple of weeks to find some time to get Irv acclimated back in that offensive huddle. Although he might not be able to catch for a few more days, we can absolutely have him out there hearing play calls, getting back in there, because we want him to pick up where he left off.”"
This is a good sign for the Vikings, as they were hoping that Smith could be another weapon that could make their offense even more versatile this season.
At first, the news about the young tight end suffering another injury was pretty disheartening, especially after he just missed the entire 2021 campaign due to a knee injury. But O’Connell’s update on Thursday was certainly very encouraging.
Smith is currently in the final year of his contract with Minnesota. He’ll be using the upcoming season to try to set new career highs and prove to the Vikings, and the rest of the NFL, that he deserves to be regarded as one of the top tight ends in the entire league.