The Vikings made a splash with their second round pick, adding an all-around tight end in Irv Smith Jr. out of Alabama. Smith was by many accounts a fringe first round prospect, yet fell to the Vikings in the middle of the second.
Smith is perhaps the second-most complete tight end in the class behind only T.J. Hockenson. He was an effective pass catcher at Alabama, especially downfield, amassing 10 touchdowns in only 24 college games. Smith is also a strong in-line blocker who can drop back to fullback to lead block in the power running game.
Smith’s selection casts some doubt over Kyle Rudolph’s future in Minnesota. They now have four tight ends on the roster, one of which they drafted last season. In theory, Rudolph could retain the starting job and ease Smith into a more featured role as the season progresses. However, given Smith’s athletic profile and draft position, one would assume the Vikings would like him and Kirk Cousins to get comfortable with each other as soon as possible. At the very least, it would probably behoove the Vikings to get Smith running up the seam early on to take advantage of mismatches with linebackers.
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–Sam Smith is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Vikings and Deputy Editor for Full Press NFL. Like and Follow @samc_smith.
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