3 unsung heroes from the Vikings win over the Bears in Week 5

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr.
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr. /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr. /

Irv Smith Jr. – TE

Through the first four games of the season, the Vikings’ tight end group was looking less than desirable. They weren’t producing much in the pass game, which in the current state of the NFL, having a reliable receiving tight end is essential.

Irv Smith Jr. took the biggest share of the blame, as he was seen as the defacto TE1 for Minnesota and he just wasn’t living up to the hype. His performance in Week 5 against the Bears, however, was a promising one, and it is hopefully a sign that he’s starting to take the leap.

Smith ended the game against Chicago with four catches for 42 yards, which doesn’t stand out too much on paper. But when watching the matchup, each of those passes he hauled in were crucial catches.

Smith’s one blemish was a holding penalty, which was actually Minnesota’s first of the season, but his blocking outside of that mistake was stellar. His best block of the day came on Jalen Reagor’s one-yard touchdown for Minnesota in the second quarter when Smith stonewalled his defender, opening up space for Reagor to squeak into the end zone.

Smith missed the entire 2021 season, so the first few weeks of this new year could have been his time to get up to speed, and we’re now seeing him hit his stride. Whatever the case is, his Week 5 performance deserves its praise, and we’ll see how he fairs in Week 6 against the Miami Dolphins.