7 former Vikings who have been giant letdowns for their new team in 2023

Cleveland Browns pass rusher Za'Darius Smith
Cleveland Browns pass rusher Za'Darius Smith / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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Irv Smith Jr. - TE (Cincinnati Bengals)

In the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Vikings selected former Alabama tight end Irv Smith Jr. to be the eventual replacement for Kyle Rudolph.

In 2021, Smith was given that opportunity, and he appeared to be heading into a breakout season. But then the young tight end suffered a significant injury in the preseason that resulted in him missing the entire 2021 campaign.

Smith was able to get back on the field for Minnesota in 2022, but injuries were a factor again, as he was limited to just eight appearances.

Earlier this year, he became a free agent, and he eventually landed a deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals were looking for someone who could help them make up for the departure of tight end Hayden Hurst during the 2023 offseason, and they clearly felt Smith could potentially be that guy.

Well, after the first 15 weeks of the season, the former Vikings draft pick hasn't even come close to replacing the production that was lost with the departure of Hurst.

In 12 games this year, Smith has hauled in 18 passes for 115 yards and one touchdown. He's currently on pace to finish the 2023 campaign with new single-season career lows for catches, yards, and touchdown receptions.

Smith and Cincinnati had high expectations for the tight end in his first year with the team. But those expectations haven't even come close to being met, and Smith will likely be in search of a new team to play for after the conclusion of the 2023 season.