As of Tuesday, all 32 NFL training camps are officially underway. The Minnesota Vikings are excited to see what head coach Kevin O'Connell can do in his first head coaching gig. If he's to succeed, he needs all players to be as healthy as possible, including tight end Irv Smith Jr.
After showing promise as a rookie and sophomore, Smith missed the entire 2021 campaign due to a torn meniscus. Fortunately for Vikings fans, O'Connell had an exciting injury update to share regarding the 23-year-old on Tuesday.
Irv Smith Jr. Injury Update
O'Connell told reporters that Smith has fully recovered and that the coaching staff is "expecting him to be full to start" when it comes to his practice participation. The Vikings coach made sure to give credit to the fourth-year TE for battling his way to where he is today.
"You can tell that the work's been put in. You can tell that there's a real mindset for Irv [Smith] and I'm really excited about him."- Kevin O'Connell
Before missing last season, Smith had recorded 66 catches for 676 yards and seven touchdowns in 29 career games (14 starts). His 73.3% catch rate proves just how reliable he can be when healthy and that's the type of chemistry he needs to build on with quarterback Kirk Cousins.
With last year's No. 1 TE Tyler Conklin gone, the pressure is on for Smith to step up. O'Connell proved that he isn't shy when it comes to using tight ends during his time as the Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator, making it interesting to see what Smith's usage looks like in 2022 and beyond.
A healthy Smith gives Minnesota's offense a nice boost. He turns 24 before the season begins and could have his best days ahead of him. If he can reach the potential seen in him when he was a second-round pick, the Vikings would have a dangerous passing attack with the likes of him, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.
Vikings Playoff Odds
The Vikings hope that Smith can do his best to help the team return to the postseason first the first time since 2019. For now, the odds of that happening could go either way. FanDuel Sportsbook has the Vikings at -110 odds both to miss and make the playoffs.
Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Devon Platana also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username PepeSilvia0. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.