Sports

Vikes TE Smith to have knee surgery this week

EAGAN, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. will undergo surgery this week to repair a meniscus injury he sustained in Minnesota’s preseason finale at Kansas City, coach Mike Zimmer announced Monday.

“We’ll see how that surgery goes, but (Vikings head team physician) Dr. (Christopher) Larsen is one of the best in the country so we expect a good turnout.”

Zimmer did not specify how long the Vikings will be without Smith, though said he had not heard about a “six-to-eight month” timetable when specifically asked about a longer timetable for Smith’s recovery.

“We’ll just see where he’s at,” Zimmer said “A lot of times you can’t really tell anything until you get in there. We really won’t know until they get in there.”

Typically, recovery from meniscus surgery could range from several weeks to several months depending on whether it’s a simpler debridement or clean-up procedure vs. a full repair.

Smith played 11 snaps during Friday’s loss at Kansas City, though it’s not apparent when he sustained his injury during the game. The third-year tight end was interviewed on the field during the television broadcast and was made available to the media on hand at Arrowhead Stadium following the game.

Minnesota is down to Tyler Conklin, Brandon Dillon, Zach Davidson and Shane Zylstra at tight end and several of those players are not expected to make the 53-man roster. Zimmer called the Vikings’ tight end depth “not very good” and said the team would be looking to add another tight end with cutdown day on the horizon.

“We’re looking, but not just at tight end,” Zimmer said. “We’re looking (at) all positions.”

The Vikings had two tight ends on the field for 445 snaps in 2020, which ranked third in the NFL. Even though Minnesota’s offense is predicated off its tight end usage, the Vikings may have to make schematical adjustments based on their personnel at the position.

“We may end up being a little bit more three wides (receivers),” Zimmer said. “With some of the guys that we have there. All this will shake out after the cuts. We can’t jump ahead of anything right now.”

Conklin, who has been rehabbing from a hamstring injury and has not practiced since Aug. 16, is expected to be back as a full participant in practice on Monday, according to Zimmer.

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