In Kyle Rudolph’s absence, Vikings TE Irv Smith has a chance at a much bigger of role.
NFL Network’s Cynthia Frelund thinks Smith could end up as Minnesota’s most-improved player this year. Frelund wrote:
“On just 43 targets last season, Smith Jr. notched five touchdowns. Now that Kyle Rudolph is a Giant, the 22-year-old will have the opportunity to absorb some of the veteran’s 37 targets from last season. The story for Smith is his red-area efficiency, both on and off the ball. With an improved O-line, it’s very conceivable that Kirk Cousins will look to Smith even more in the red zone, which means he’s one I am already circling for fantasy purposes this season. He will very likely land among my top 10 TEs come late August.”
I think his target count will certainly go up, but there is a chance that Smith leaves something to be desired in terms of his production yet again. Earlier this offseason, Mike Zimmer said that he does not foresee a bigger role for Smith, instead pointing out that second tight end Tyler Conklin will be the one taking on a bigger role in 2021.