Vikings Have First Notable Injury of Offseason

Aug 27, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota Vikings second-year wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette suffered a lower-leg injury recently and was using a scooter for mobility at Wednesday’s practice.

The ailment to Smith-Marsette is the first “new” injury of the 2022 season, sidelining the Iowa alumnus for next week’s mandatory minicamp, an event that will formally end the franchise’s offseason program.

Smith-Marsette, 22, is the leading candidate for the Vikings WR4 slot in 2022, although Bisi Johnson, Jalen Nailor, or Albert Wilson could win the job, too. Drafted in the 5th Round of the 2021 NFL Draft, Smith-Marsette made a mini-name for himself, grabbing two touchdowns on six targets in his rookie season. He also returned a few kicks before fellow rookie Kene Nwangwu seized the job in mighty fashion.

Jan 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Because of Smith-Marsette’s flashes of stardom, the Vikings reportedly didn’t target “big-name” WRs in April’s draft. The team added the aforementioned Jalen Nailor late in the draft, but general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah passed on adding promising wide receiver candidates during the event. He even traded picks away to the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers so they could select popular receivers.

Incidentally, Minnesota hosted last year’s punt returner Dede Westbrook for a workout earlier this week. But Westbrook did not accept an offer from the Vikings, instead chasing interest from other teams. Following up the Westbrook tryout, though, Adofo-Mensah inked Albert Wilson from the Miami Dolphins, a man with special teams expertise in college a decade ago.

Jun 16, 2021; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports.

Smith-Marsette’s injury is not expected to linger, and the consensus is that he’ll return later this summer for training camp. Vikings fans tend to be paranoid, however, about summer injuries as, in 2020, EDGE rusher Danielle Hunter suffered a minor “tweak” injury that turned into a season-long, serious absence derived from a neck malady.

Minnesota’s mandatory minicamp begins on June 7, and training camp, when Smith-Marsette is expected to be ready, is generally held in late July.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).