5 Vikings players who have been pleasant surprises

(Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images) Za'Darius Smith
(Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images) Za'Darius Smith /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr. /

Irv Smith Jr., tight end

a lot of players in the NFL don’t get second chances at success. Irv Smith Jr. got off to a horrible start in his career due to injuries that kept him off the field. Thankfully, 2022 has been good for Smith.

Irv may not be blowing up the stat lines every week, but he has been finding a way to contribute when needed. His ability to gain yards after the catch makes him a dangerous weapon, especially when defenses are focused on Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.

After six games, Smith is fourth on the team in receiving yards with 140 but is tied for the most receiving touchdowns at two. Being a reliable target for Kirk Cousins will keep the ball coming in his direction.

Smith is third in pass targets. 29 passes have been thrown his way, behind only Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, If Smith can stay healthy, he should continue to be one of the top targets in the Vikings’ offense.