10 bold predictions for the 2022 Minnesota Vikings

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Kevin O'Connell
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Kevin O'Connell /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr. /

Irv Smith Jr. will have under 600 yards receiving

One of the biggest disappointments from last season was Irv Smith Jr’s knee injury. After tearing his meniscus in the final preseason game, Smith spent the entire year on the sidelines and looks ready to contribute this season. But fans who are expecting a big season from Smith may be disappointed.

According to Sharp’s Football Stats, the Rams used 11 personnel an NFL-high 86 percent of the time. Although the Vikings have different personnel that should feature Smith and fullback C.J. Ham, neither seems like they will be a major focal point of the offense.

That doesn’t mean that Smith won’t have a role. Tyler Higbee was third on the Rams with 105 receptions over the first two seasons but didn’t crack over 600 yards in either year under O’Connell. Higbee logged 734 receiving yards in 2019, however, but that could also be a byproduct of Jared Goff’s willingness to check down.

Smith is also coming into the season battling a broken thumb that required surgery, giving him an uphill battle to live up to his expectations.