Vikings coach Mike Zimmer: There’s not ‘any bigger role’ for Irv Smith Jr.

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After a decade as the Vikings’ mainstay tight end, Kyle Rudolph departed for the Giants this offseason.

That led many to expect a bigger role for Irv Smith Jr. in 2021, but based on what Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer has said publicly, that does not seem to be the case:

“Honestly, I don’t think it’s any bigger role for him whatsoever,” Zimmer said, per Will Ragatz of Sports Illustrated. “I think it’s a bigger role for Tyler Conklin. He’s kind of emerged as a guy that’s moving upward and with those two guys, we have a lot of weapons there. Irv always has been able to do what he’s been able to do whether Kyle was here or not. We’re excited about these two young tight ends that we have.”

I still think it’s worth pointing out that Tyler Conklin will probably not be the player that Kyle Rudolph was in a Vikings uniform. That means Smith Jr. will at least have a chance to be more of a focus in the offense. Zimmer doesn’t seem to feel that way, though.

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