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Irv Smith Jr. injury update heading into Week 1

We break down news that Irv Smith Jr. has a thumb injury. What it means for Week 1 and beyond.

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 27: Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith (84) runs after a catch in the first quarter of an NFL preseason game between the Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs on Aug 27, 2021 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

September 7 update: Smith did not show up on the team’s first official injury report of the week.

Monday September 5 update: Head coach Kevin O’Connell told reporters that he’s “more confident than ever” that Irv Smith Jr. will be ready for Week 1, per ESPN’s Kevein Seifert.

The Minnesota Vikings are looking for Irv Smith Jr. to play an impactful role as their top pass-catching tight end in 2022 after surgery on a torn meniscus forced him to miss all of last season. Smith’s status for Week 1 is also in question after the fourth-year tight end underwent surgery on a thumb injury sustained back on August 1. After getting back in rhythm and catching passes over the past few days the expectation is that Smith should be ready for the Vikings’ Week 1 matchup with the Green Bay Packers.

Fantasy football implications

Should Smith be ready to roll for Week 1 there’s a great chance that he’ll get a solid volume of looks in what hopes to be an elevated Vikings offense. In 13 games played in 2020, Smith had 30 catches on 43 targets for 365 yards and five touchdowns. Heading into 2022 Minnesota will welcome Kevin O’Connell as their new head coach, who has previous chemistry with Kirk Cousins as his former quarterback coach. If the passing attack reaches new heights in 2022, Smith is very much a potential TE2 for fantasy managers.

If Smith is sidelined for Week 1 and potentially early on to start the season then Johnny Mundt will step in as his replacement on the depth chart. Mundt has accumulated just 10 catches for 93 yards over the course of his five-year career, so he is likely worth a pass from fantasy managers until Smith’s return.