Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is not planning for a breakout year from third-year tight end Irv Smith Jr. despite the absence of Kyle Rudolph. "Honestly, I don’t think it’s any bigger role for him whatsoever," explained Zimmer. "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." (Sports Illustrated)
This has to be painful for managers who have high roster shares of the young tight end. Instead of sliding into a large role in 2021, it sounds like he'll merely split time with Conklin. In an offense that already features Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, and Adam Thielen, these latest comments from Zimmer further smother any hope that Smith might finish as a top-12 tight end. Fantasy managers shall adjust accordingly and treat Smith merely as a depth piece.