As the Vikings try to figure out what the future will hold for veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph, the performance of the team’s young tight ends will become a major factor in the final analysis.
So far, the team’s young tight ends are looking good.
Via Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, rookie second-round tight end Irv Smith Jr. “lined up all over the field” in Wednesday’s OTA session, at one point beating cornerback Trae Waynes down the sideline.
The team’s 2018 fifth-round draft pick also looked good.
“I thought Tyler Conklin looked really impressive, just routes on air in the red zone,” quarterback Kirk Cousins said, via Goessling. “Our defense did a really good job today of covering routes in the red zone, so it didn’t really give us an opportunity for them to shine.”
Smith brings an interesting (and for Vikings fans depressing) family connection to Minnesota. As recently explained by Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Smith’s uncle (Ed Smith) played for the 1998 Falcons, which beat the 16-1 Vikings in the NFC Championship. Irv Smith’s father was in the stands for the game.
The next time Irv Smith Sr. takes in a game in Minnesota, he’ll presumably be rooting for the home team.