Irv Smith Jr. is a fantasy sleeper right now
By: Jake Rajala
The Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. is unequivocally the biggest x-factor in the Vikings offense moving forward. Smith Jr. was MIA in his junior season ”“ as he suffered a meniscus tear in his third pre-season contest ”“ which ended his well-anticipated 2021 season. Nonetheless, it’s safe to say that the healthy and athletic gifted TE is gearing up for a stellar 2022 campaign in Kevin O’Connell’s flashy offense.
Irv Smith Jr. has expressed how he feels like a kid in the candy shop in the new offense. Per KSTP, Irv Smith Jr. stated, “In LA, the Rams did a lot of great things with the tight end, Tyler Higbee. He made a lot of plays and stuff. So seeing the film and what he’s done and using my skill set to what I’m capable of doing because we’re different players and everybody’s a different player. So this camp will be cool because he gets to see what I can do, and he’ll be able to see how he can implement me in different ways and implement all of us”. Higbee notched 560 yards and 5 touchdowns last season (as he ranked as the 14th best fantasy TE), and I wholeheartedly believe O’Connell will have more fun utilizing Smith Jr. than his former TE1 in LA.
Greg Rosenthal of NFL.com dubbed the Vikings young TE as his breakout candidate on the Vikings in 2022. Rosenthal stated, “Vikings fans and fantasy heads have been waiting for Smith to break out for a few years now. There’s no reason he can’t thrive now. New offensive coordinator Wes Phillips was a tight ends coach in Los Angeles, and the offense the Vikings want to run asks a lot of the position. Smith profiles as a souped-up receiver who can take passes in stride and rack up yards after the catch.”
The hungry Irv Smith Jr. acquired a new (neck) tattoo to celebrate his health and positive vibe, as well. Per Vikings Wire, Smith Jr. stated, “I got a butterfly right here on my neck, and it’s like a new beginning. He elaborated, “All the things that I’ve done in the past I still reflect on, but I’m excited for the future and what the future holds for myself and for this team ”“ for this offense. And we’re just going to take it one day at a time. But it’s definitely a new beginning for me, I’d say”. Smith Jr, his new offensive-minded coach, and his impressive spirit should seek vengeance in the 2022 season.