Vikings TE Irv Smith Jr. after full recovery from knee injury: ‘I feel like I got faster’

Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. was a full participant in practice Wednesday, the first time he’s been able to say that in 11 months. He missed the entire 2021 season after tearing his meniscus in the preseason.

Smith Jr. met with reporters before practice, expressing that he feels like he’s faster now. The 2019 second-round pick showed a lot of promise in 2020. He missed three games, but totaled 365 yards and five touchdowns on 30 catches. He was set for an even bigger role in 2021 before his knee injury derailed those plans.

***Click the video box above to watch Irv Smith Jr’s Wednesday news conference***

Smith Jr. is excited to play in new head coach Kevin O’Connell’s offense, especially with this being a contract year.

“Coach O’Connell, he’s done an amazing job of how he wants to use us. In L.A., [the Rams] did a lot of great things with the tight end, Tyler Higbee. He made a lot of plays and stuff,” Smith Jr. said. “So seeing the film and what he’s done and using my skill set to what I’m capable of doing, because we’re different players and everybody’s a different player. So this camp will be cool because he gets to see what I can do, and he’ll be able to see how he can implement me in different ways and implement all of us.”