Friday update: Irv Smith Jr. is officially questionable, while Kyle Rudolph is doubtful to play the Buccaneers this weekend. Coach Zimmer did have this to say about Rudolph though:
#Vikings coach Mike Zimmer on Kyle Rudolph. "He's a pretty fast healer so we'll just see. ... He wants to play. ... I don't want to count him out yet.''— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) December 11, 2020
Rudolph isn’t likely to play, but it’s something to keep an eye on. It does look like Smith’s status is leaning toward suiting up though. If Rudolph os out and Smith does play, Smith has some fantasy upside this week.
Thursday update: Gary Kubiak says that Irv Smith Jr. is trending toward playing this week, per Chad Graff.
The Minnesota Vikings are back at practice on Thursday as they prepare to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 14, and they remain shorthanded at the tight end position. The team welcomed Irv Smith back to practice, but Kyle Rudolph was sidelined for a second straight day due to a foot injury, per Andrew Krammer.
Smith missed Week 13 with his injury, while Rudolph was held without a catch on two targets. One has to wonder if the foot injury is the reason he was ineffective. He had caught at least three passes in each of his previous four games.
Smith stands to benefit if he is able to go this Sunday. Tyler Conklin would get some additional work, but Smith would be the team’s starter. The Bucs rank 10th from the bottom in fantasy points allowed to the tight end position. Smith is far from a must-start, but there’s some decent upside if he’s a go and Rudolph sits.