Vikings Plan To Activate TE Irv Smith

The Vikings are set to receive a nice boost to their passing offense just in time for the playoffs as the team plans to activate tight end Irv Smith from injured reserve, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. In order to make room for Smith on the roster, the Vikings have waived tight end Nick Muse.

Coming off a meniscus tear that would cost him the entire 2021 season, Smith’s role as a starter diminished this year as the Vikings would favor starting better run blockers in Johnny Mundt and Ben Ellefson. Still, Smith led the team’s position group in receiving yards and touchdowns until suffering an ankle injury in a Week 8 win over the Cardinals that would land him on IR. Smith’s injury would lead Minnesota to send a 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick to Detroit in exchange for tight end T.J. Hockenson, a 2023 fourth-round pick, and a conditional 2024 fourth-round pick.

The return of Smith makes an already-potent Vikings offense even more formidable. In addition to a running game led by Dalvin Cook and supplemented by Alexander Mattison, quarterback Kirk Cousins has an array of pass-catching weapons that includes Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, K.J. Osborn, Hockenson, and Smith.

Smith is set to hit free agency this offseason. If he wishes to remain in Minnesota past this year, Smith will need to show that he can earn targets in a crowded group of receivers. With Hockenson signed through next year, Smith will have to prove to the Vikings that he is worth Minnesota paying two pass-catching tight ends.

Muse’s rookie season comes to an end after failing to register one snap on offense for the Vikings this year. A seventh-round pick this year, Muse appeared solely on special teams in what would end up being a crowded, but injured, tight ends room. If he clears waivers, the Vikings can sign him to the practice squad and, eventually, a futures contract.

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