Irv Smith Jr.

Minnesota Vikings
Tight End #82
Minnesota Vikings
Tight End #82

Irv Smith Jr. News

Should avoid surgery

Coach Kevin O'Connell expects Smith (ankle) to avoid surgery and gave a timeline estimate of four-to-eight weeks Friday, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Analysis: The Vikings hope to get Smith back at some point in December or January, though his role won't be what it was if new teammate T.J. Hockenson stays healthy. The Vikings traded for Hockenson at the trade deadline after Smith injured his ankle in a Week 8 win over Arizona, with initial reports suggesting the latter would miss 8-to-10 weeks. O'Connell is apparently a bit more optimistic but still expects Smith to be out a while. The tight end was placed on injured reserve Tuesday.

Nov 4, 2022 10:38 AM EST

Surgery possible

Coach Kevin O'Connell said Wednesday that Smith may need surgery on the high-ankle sprain he sustained this past Sunday against the Cardinals, Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Analysis: Smith is getting a second opinion to determine whether a procedure is necessary, but despite initial reports that his recovery timetable will be 8-to-10 weeks, O'Connell told Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he doesn't have precise time frame. Ultimately, Smith is in danger of missing most of the rest of the regular season, which likely spurred the Vikings to acquire T.J. Hockenson from the Lions on Tuesday. As long as Smith is sidelined, Hockenson and Johnny Mundt will be the main tight ends in Minnesota.

Nov 2, 2022 12:56 PM EST

Goes on IR

The Vikings placed Smith (ankle) on injured reserve Tuesday.

Analysis: Smith's move to IR became a foregone conclusion after Adam Schefter of ESPN reported earlier in the day that the 24-year-old will likely be sidelined for 8-to-10 weeks due to the high-ankle sprain he suffered in Sunday's win over the Cardinals. In response to Smith's upcoming absence, the Vikings acquired one of the NFL's better tight ends in T.J. Hockenson from the Lions, and Hockenson will likely remain atop the depth chart for the rest of the season so long as he's healthy. With that in mind, Smith doesn't look as though he'll be in line for a substantial role if he's able to make it back from IR during the final few weeks of the season.

Nov 1, 2022 11:27 AM EST

Set to miss 8-to-10 weeks

Smith is in line to miss 8-to-10 weeks as a result of the high-ankle sprain that he sustained during Sunday's win against the Cardinals, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Analysis: With such a recovery timeline, Smith inevitably will be placed on injured reserve by the Vikings, who sought to replace him via a trade for T.J. Hockenson from the Lions on Tuesday. The timing perhaps was fortuitous for the team, but the player himself now will be hard-pressed to see action before the end of the regular season. While Smith is set for a lengthy rehab, Hockenson and Johnny Mundt will be Minnesota's tight ends for the foreseeable future.

Nov 1, 2022 10:20 AM EST

Will miss time with ankle sprain

Smith is expected to miss multiple weeks after he was diagnosed with a high-ankle sprain following his early exit from Sunday's 34-26 win over the Cardinals, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Analysis: The Vikings made it apparent Tuesday that they anticipated Smith would miss time, as the team acquired another established starting tight end in T.J. Hockenson from the divisional-rival Lions. Hockenson should immediately step in as the Vikings' new No. 1 tight end beginning with this Sunday's game in Washington, and his superior production through his first three-plus seasons in the NFL suggests he'll retain a spot atop the depth chart whenever Smith returns. Before suffering the ankle injury, Smith had been a serviceable secondary target in the Vikings' passing game, having turned in a 22-168-2 receiving line through the first seven games of the season. However, his injury and the addition of Hockenson means that Smith is a drop candidate in nearly every redraft league.

Nov 1, 2022 9:44 AM EST

Deemed week-to-week by HC

Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell said Monday that Smith (ankle) looks "week-to-week," Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Analysis: This news isn't all that surprising given Smith is believed to have a high-ankle sprain, which normally sidelines players for multiple weeks. However, it is noteworthy because it's the first official indication that Smith is unlikely to play Sunday against the Commanders. The talented tight end is still awaiting MRI results, so the extent of the situation isn't known yet, but if Smith misses time, expect Johnny Mundt and Jacob Hollister to garner increased roles in Week 9.

Oct 31, 2022 12:55 PM EST

High-ankle sprain feared

The Vikings' initial belief is that Smith suffered a high-ankle sprain during Sunday's 34-26 win over the Cardinals, Jeremy Fowler of reports.

Analysis: Smith will undergo further testing including an MRI on Monday, but if a high-ankle sprain is confirmed, the tight end will likely be forced to miss time. Johnny Mundt and Jacob Hollister would stand to hand increased roles and hold down the tight end position if Smith indeed needs to spend some time on the sideline. Smith has logged three straight games with exactly four catches, which he translated into 28 receiving yards versus Arizona on Sunday.

Oct 31, 2022 9:44 AM EST

To have MRI on ankle

Coach Kevin O'Connell said Smith sustained an ankle injury during Sunday's 34-26 win versus the Cardinals and will undergo an MRI, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Analysis: For the third game in a row, Smith hauled in exactly four passes en route to 28 yards, placing him fourth on the Vikings in terms of yardage Week 8. Having said that, he emerged from the contest with a health concern, with the upcoming evaluation potentially providing some clarity as to the extent of the injury.

Oct 30, 2022 2:26 PM EST

Finds end zone in win

Smith brought in all four targets for seven yards and a touchdown in the Vikings' 24-16 win over the Dolphins on Sunday.

Analysis: The athletic tight end recorded his second consecutive four-catch tally, and although he produced his second-lowest yardage total of the season, he partly made up for it with a one-yard touchdown grab in the second quarter. The score was Smith's second of the season,, and after sitting out all of last season following knee surgery, the 24-year-old has has been encouragingly consistent while producing an 18-140-2 tally following a blanking in the opener.

Oct 16, 2022 3:39 PM EST

Makes four catches

Smith caught four of five targets for 42 yards in Sunday's 29-22 win over the Bears.

Analysis: Smith trailed only starting wideouts Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen in targets, helping him post a season high in receiving yards. While that feat offers encouragement ahead of Week 6's matchup versus the Dolphins, Smith's overall stock remains relatively modest.

Oct 9, 2022 1:56 PM EST

Three receptions Sunday

Smith had three receptions for 23 yards on four targets in Sunday's win over New Orleans in London.

Analysis: Smith again didn't get the start at tight end, but got more snaps (43) on on offense than starter Johnny Mundt (20) and ran more routes (30 to 5). Despite Smith's meager production, he was third on the team in targets which should bode well for better games ahead.

Oct 3, 2022 12:39 PM EST

Only two catches in Week 3

Smith caught two of six targets for 32 yards in Sunday's 28-24 win over the Lions.

Analysis: Smith took a step back after breaking out with five catches and a touchdown in Week 2. Third receiver K.J. Osborn led the way with 73 yards and a touchdown against Detroit, and Smith's role will likely remain inconsistent moving forward in a Minnesota passing game with a lot of mouths to feed.

Sep 26, 2022 12:37 PM EST

Finds end zone in Week 2 loss

Smith secured five of eight targets for 36 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings' 24-7 loss to the Eagles on Monday night.

Analysis: The fourth-year tight end crossed the goal line for the first time since Week 16 of the 2020 season after missing all of the 2021 campaign with a knee injury. Smith had the look of a budding star that season with a 30-365-5 line across 13 games, but in a previous iteration of the Vikings' offense, he may have had an uphill climb for targets. While plenty of attention is still likely to be bestowed upon wideouts Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, the fact Smith drew the second-most looks Monday night behind the former is reason for optimism that head coach Kevin O'Connell, who utilized Tyler Higbee with effectiveness during his Rams days, will continue affording Smith plenty of opportunity. The 24-year-old's first chance to build on his solid Week 2 effort comes against the Lions in a Week 3 home NFC North showdown.

Sep 19, 2022 9:17 PM EST

Limited role in Week 1

Smith didn't catch either of his two targets and played on just 19 of of the offense's 62 snaps in Sunday's win against Green Bay. He came off the bench while Johnny Mundt got the start. "I missed a lot of camp," Smith told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "We didn't want to kind of rush me into things too much. Just wanted to get a feel and keep building on it."

Analysis: Smith didn't have much of a role on offense since he was eased into action after Aug. 2 thumb surgery and after missing last season due to a knee injury. Smith's role in the offense should increase, but it's not clear if he'll move into a starting role in Week 2.

Sep 12, 2022 10:40 AM EST

Good to go

Smith (thumb) isn't listed on the Wednesday injury report ahead of Sunday's season opener against Green Bay.

Analysis: Smith apparently is ready to play after missing most of training camp and the entire preseason in the wake of Aug. 2 thumb surgery. He should handle the majority of Minnesota's snaps and targets at tight end, as backups Johnny Mundt and Ben Ellefson have combined for 11 career receptions in the NFL. It's a situation that gives Smith breakout appeal for a second straight summer, and this time he was able to move past his preseason injury (he suffered a season-ending meniscus tear last August). The 24-year-old will take the field Sunday for the first time since preseason 2021.

Sep 7, 2022 2:57 PM EST

On track for Week 1

Coach Kevin O'Connell reiterated Monday that he feels confident Smith (thumb) will be available for Sunday's season opener against the Packers, Kevin Seifert of reports.

Analysis: Added context with regard to Smith's Week 1 status will arrive once the Vikings issue their first injury report of the season Wednesday. If the tight end is indeed able to suit up this weekend, he'll be in line to serve as the team's top pass catching option at his position, with Johnny Mundt and Ben Ellefson slated to see complementary snaps behind Smith.

Sep 5, 2022 11:05 AM EST

Catching passes in practice

Smith (thumb) has been catching balls in recent practices, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Analysis: Smith had returned to practice last week but wasn't catching passes, so this is a significant step. Smith missed the entire 2021 season after having surgery to repair a meniscus issue in his right knee but opened training camp as a full participant, only to undergo thumb surgery Aug. 2. Head coach Kevin O'Connell previously said that Smith was on track to be ready for the start of the regular season.

Aug 31, 2022 9:43 PM EST

Takes part in limited practice

Smith (thumb) took part in individual drills Tuesday with a wrap on his thumb and was on the field for some full-team snaps, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Analysis: Smith hasn't caught any passes, but he is expected to soon. Smith, who missed the entire 2021 season after having surgery to repair a meniscus issue in his right knee, had opened training camp in line to participate fully, but had thumb surgery on Aug. 2. Coach Kevin O'Connell said last week that Smith is on track to be ready for the start of the regular season and his return to the practice field is a good sign.

Aug 23, 2022 10:14 PM EST

To practice soon

Smith (thumb) is closing in on a return to practice, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Analysis: Coach Kevin O'Connell commented on Smith's recovery from thumb surgery after Saturday's preseason loss to the 49ers, saying the tight end "will be back on the grass" in the near future. Whether that means merely working with the Vikings' training staff on a side field or actually mixing into individual drills remains to be seen, but when he does get on the field, it'll be a sign of progress as he aims to be available Week 1 against the Packers.

Aug 20, 2022 7:54 PM EST

On track for Week 1 return

Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell said Smith (thumb) is on track to play Week 1 of the regular season.

Analysis: Smith has been able to do work on the side and may be able to catch in a few more days, O'Connell added. Smith, who missed the entire 2021 season after having surgery to repair a meniscus issue in his right knee, had opened training camp in line to participate fully, but had thumb surgery on Aug. 2.

Aug 18, 2022 7:33 AM EST

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