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Kubiak: Irv Smith Jr. ‘trending in right direction’ for Week 10

The Vikings TE misses Thursday practice, but returns Friday and is on track to play.

Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. runs with the ball after a catch for a 36-yard gain in the first quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at U.S. Bank Stadium.  Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

Friday update: Irv Smith Jr. is on track to play in Week 10, per coach Kubiak”

Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. sat out Thursday practice with a groin injury, per Star Tribune’s Andrew Krammer. The Vikings play on Monday night against the Chicago Bears, so there is time for Smith to get back to practice and be ready to go, but there is cause for concern.

Smith was able to score two touchdowns last week and has more targets than Kyle Rudolph this season. He’s still not getting the work you’d want from a fantasy tight end, but his six red zone targets over the five games is a great sign, especially at a position as weak as tight end in fantasy.

If Smith can’t go, Kyle Rudolph would get a bump and would have some fantasy value. He would still be a touchdown or bust play, but that’s the way most tight ends are at this point and getting one without competition for targets is a good play.