Irv Smith Jr. – TE
You may be asking yourself how does a guy who caught four passes and scored a touchdown end up on the disappointing list? Well, it’s because we expect more from Irv Smith Jr. and he continues to underwhelm.
Yes, the touchdown was great, and it’s a luxury to have a talented tight end like him on the roster who can be that threat in the red zone. The concern is that he caught four passes for just seven yards and he also fumbled one of those, which was thankfully recovered by Justin Jefferson.
So the question that needs to be asked is, were those plays designed to be for short yardage, or are these plays designed with Smith’s athletic ability in mind and the expectation that he’ll make a man miss and use his speed to pick up extra yards?
It’s totally possible that they are designed to just pick up a couple of yards as drive starters, but that is unlikely. Minnesota head coach Kevin O’Connell is a smart guy and surely drew these up thinking Smith could do more with the ball in his hands.
If the Vikings tight end continues to come up short week after week, his future with the team looks uncertain at best. There have even been rumblings that Minnesota is looking to trade for a tight end in the NFC West and those whispers wouldn’t be happening if the team was happy with Smith.
Smith did have a touchdown on Sunday, but his 1.8 yards per catch average and lack of ball protection was extremely disappointing.