Irv Smith Jr Ready for Breakout Year
Former Alabama Crimson Tide tight end, Irv Smith Jr., joined Good Morning Football to talk about the upcoming season and his development at tight end since being drafted. After being taken in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings and spending his first two years behind Kyle Rudolph on the depth chart, the Vikings let their veteran tight end walk in free agency and opened the door for Smith who has "very high expectations" for 2021.
Good Morning Football Host, Nate Burleson, brought Smith onto the show with a warm welcome and, after making a prediction of 60 catches, 1000 yards and 11 touchdowns for the third year tight end, quickly got down to business, asking a question that many fans are likely wondering the answer to themselves: Why are you all in on your quarterback (Kirk Cousins) this season?
Smith swiftly responded, praising his veteran quarterback, saying, "I mean Kirk has done a great job, obviously, with the Vikings. Last year we were a top five offense and made a lot of great plays, but defensively we didn't play too well, so our record didn't show for it," Smith continued, "This year, I'm very excited. We've got a lot of weapons on offense and Kirk told us he's a point guard out there and that he's just gonna deliver the ball and put it in playmaker's hands."
Smith, who has seen significant playing time despite not starting, has totaled 676 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in his two seasons and averaged over 12 yards per reception in 2020, ranking eighth among tight ends.
With a breakout season on the horizon for a player who is getting their first chance to be a No. 1 option at tight end, the ceiling for the Vikings offense, which features other young stars in Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook, looks to be very high. While the offense looks as good as ever coming off a year in which they ranked as one of the league's best, extremely inconsistent defensive output in 2020 left a lot of question marks for a team that finished 7-9.
This offseason saw the Vikings add some solid veterans in Dalvin Tomlinson and Patrick Peterson, filling some defensive holes from the previous year. If the revamped Vikings defense can match the level of play the offense is capable of, this is a team that could definitely make a push for an NFC North Title, especially if the Aaron Rodgers sags continues into the season.
With a chance to finally make a name for himself in the NFL, Smith is poised for his biggest season yet and could help guide his team to their first division title since 2017.