Vikings TE Irv Smith Jr. has thumb surgery, aims for opener


EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. will miss the remainder of the preseason after having surgery on his injured thumb.

Coach Kevin O’Connell announced that Smith had the procedure done Tuesday after getting hurt during practice Monday. He’s on track to return for the first game on Sept. 11 against Green Bay.

“We still feel very strongly about our process to get him back and hopefully have him, barring any setbacks, available for that opener,” O’Connell said.

Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. takes part in drills at the NFL football team’s practice facility in Eagan, Minn., Saturday, July 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

Smith missed the entire 2021 season after surgery on his injured knee, and the Vikings are counting on him as their top player at the position this year. Smith has 676 yards and seven touchdowns over two NFL seasons, after being drafted in the second round out of Alabama in 2019.

Backup running back and kickoff returner Kene Nwangwu has also been sidelined in the second week of training camp with a lower leg injury, O’Connell said.

“We’re just trying to be smart and make sure we don’t turn a short-term setback into what could be a longer-term deal,” O’Connell said.


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