It’s hard to overstate just how potentially impactful the 2021 NFL Draft was for the Minnesota Vikings. A ton of digital ink has been spilled to write about the impact that picks like Christian Darrisaw or Wyatt Davis should have for the Vikings’ offense, and while some sites have covered Iowa playmaking wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette as a good value pick who should end up as the WR3 and punt returner the purple desperately need, none have come out and said what I’m about to now.
Ihmir Smith-Marsette was the steal of the draft not just for the Vikings, but for the entire NFL. That’s coming from a guy who pined for the Vikings to take Wyatt Davis in the FIRST ROUND (after trading down) all the way back in November. Oh, and from the guy that also labeled former fifth-round pick Stefon Diggs as the steal of his draft back in 2015.
While no Vikings or NFL sites have gone that far, Smith-Marsette isn’t new to hype as this YouTube highlight reel titled ‘Ihmir Smith-Marsette: The Most Versatile Playmaker in College Football’ proves:
Sure, some of those catches wouldn’t be inbounds in the NFL but when you also consider that none of the quarterbacks throwing him the ball cracked a 60% completion rate and that he still scored a touchdown on over TWELVE percent of his grabs? Oh, and has the second most accurate quarterback in league HISTORY throwing him the ball in Kirk Cousins?
It’s hard not to get excited. That’s even before you also consider that on an offense that is absolutely STACKED with talent at every skill position (and suddenly, also, the non-skill positions?). With opposing defenses focusing on Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson, Irv Smith Jr. and Dalvin Cook? Smith-Marsette should be able to actually get close to his 12.5% TD rate as a Viking.
Remember when Kirk Cousins first came to Minnesota and had Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs as the pick your poison 1-2 punch and then eventually Aldrick Robinson as a periodic option? He ended up scoring touchdowns on nearly 30% of his grabs (5 TDs on 17 grabs) because he was a speedster that took advantage of the fact that he was an afterthought.
He also had chemistry and timing with Cousins courtesy of their time together in Washington, so it isn’t hard to think that if the Smith-Marsette and Cousins click during training camp that he could not only end up as the wide receiver 3 the team has looked for … since Robinson, and one that exceeds Robinson’s output courtesy of his 3 inch height differential and their identical 40-yard dash times.
If that ends up being the case, Smith-Marsette could explode onto the scene and end up with a hell of a lot more grabs than 17. When you also factor in the fact that Cousins may actually have both a pocket to pass from and time to let deep routes develop?
Imagine how unstoppable the Vikings’ offense would be… or dare I say SHOULD be.