Earlier this week the Minnesota Vikings announced the release of its long-time tight end Kyle Rudolph who played 10 years with the franchise.
Rudolph had been a mainstay of the Vikings offense as he was among its most important players over the course of his career, but now the team will be moving on in a different direction.
That new direction might be in the form of former Alabama tight end Irv Smith Jr. who will be headed into his third season in the national football league. Smith was a second-round selection during the 2019 NFL Draft, as the Vikings were clearly looking to the future of that position.
Now will be the time for Smith to breakout and become a bigger fixture of the offense headed into the 2021 season.
Smith has played in 29 of 32 possible games throughout his first two seasons which include a total of 14 starts. Within those games, He has caught 66 passes for 676 yards and seven touchdowns, five of which came during the 2020 season.
The 22-year-old broke onto the scene during the final four games of the season when Rudolph was out due to an injury. During those games, Smith caught 15 passes for 183 yards and three touchdowns with the only other tight end who exceeded those numbers during that time being the Kansas City Chief’s Travis Kelce.
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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77