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Vikings Have Reportedly Suffered A Major Injury Blow

The Minnesota Vikings stadium.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 4: A general view before the game between the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith, who is expected to have an expanded role this season, is now likely to begin the year on the sideline.

According to

#Vikings starting TE Irv Smith Jr. is expected to undergo surgery for a meniscus injury that will sideline him for at least the start of the regular season, per sources.

Exact timetable TBD for now, but Smith seemed poised for a breakout season and now it’s on hold.

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 29, 2021

">NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, Smith is expected to undergo knee surgery for a meniscus injury. The procedure will keep him out for the beginning of the season. Smith, a second-round pick out of Alabama in 2014, has been the Vikings' No. 2 tight end the last two years. However, with longtime starter Kyle Rudolph moving on to the New York Giants, Smith's time seemed to have arrived. Now, we'll wait and see how long he'll have to sit.

In 29 games and 14 starts through his first two pro seasons, Smith has tallied 66 receptions for 676 yards and seven touchdowns.

With him out of action, fourth-year pro Tyler Conklin becomes the No. 1 tight end. Conklin, who has 32 receptions for 329 yards a touchdown in his career, is supported by third-year reserve Brandon Dillon and rookies Zach Davidson and Shane Zylstra.

Depending on how long the Vikings expect Smith to be out, the team could look to add another tight end via trade before Week 1.