Irv Smith Jr. Has a New NFL Address

Joe Burrow Is Hyped
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The Minnesota Vikings have been quiet over the last few days for free-agent transactions, but one of their own from 2019 to 2022 has a new NFL address.

That’s tight end Irv Smith, reportedly joining the Cincinnati Bengals on a one-year deal, a source tells VikingsTerritory.

Irv Smith Jr. Has a New NFL Address

Smith, 24, was drafted by the Vikings in the 2nd Round of the 2019 NFL Draft and possessed oodles of upside during his entire Minnesota tenure. But the club traded for T.J. Hockenson last November, spelling the beginning of the end to Smith’s career in purple.

Has a New NFL
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Free agency began two weeks ago, and Smith was on tap to command some attention on the open market. Then, the first wave of free agency passed with no Smith news. The Saints were also in the Smith rumor mill because of his ties to Louisiana, plus his father played in New Orleans, but ultimately, the Bengals landed the Alabama alumnus.

In Cincinnati, Smith’s career can truly take off, as Joe Burrow isn’t about to let any prolific playmaker fall by the wayside. Too, Smith will probably get to visit the postseason annually and get showcased as the undisputed TE1.

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With Smith’s reported addition to the Bengals roster, this is the current TE depth chart:

  • TE1: Irv Smith
  • TE2: Devin Asiasi
  • TE3: Tanner Hudson
  • TE4: Nick Bowers

Cincinnati’s primary TE1, Hayden Hurst, joined the Carolina Panthers this offseason and will run with former Vikings wideout Adam Thielen in 2023.

Smith was a part of the Vikings offense for four years but was overshadowed by veteran TE1 Kyle Rudolph in 2019 and 2020 and encountered injuries in 2021 and 2022. Since the start of 2019, Smith has registered 91 receptions on 126 targets for 858 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. He’s averaged 23.2 receiving yards per game and missed 44% of all Vikings games due to injury. When he played, Smith made a difference at times but also experienced a couple of crucial dropped passes.

It Seems Irv Smith May Have Fumbled the Bag
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The new Bengal suffered a high ankle sprain back in October versus the Arizona Cardinals, an injury sidelining him for about two months. Soon after, the Vikings traded for the aforementioned Hockenson, and the former Detroit Lion — beyond the shadow of a doubt — made the TE1 job his own.

Smith’s fate was sealed in Minnesota when the Vikings signed a new TE2, Josh Oliver, from the Baltimore Ravens on March 13th. Even without Smith, Minnesota has five TEs on its roster at the moment — Hockenson and Oliver, plus Johnny Mundt, Ben Ellefson, and Nick Muse.

The Bengals ranked fourth-worst in the NFL per receiving yards by tight ends in 2022.

The financial terms of Smith’s deal were not immediately available.

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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