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Vikings TE Irv Smith Jr. will miss 2021 season after knee surgery

The Vikings will be without Smith for the season. Tyler Conklin, Chris Herndon to step up in his place.

Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith (84) runs after a catch in the first quarter of an NFL preseason game between the Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs on Aug 27, 2021 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. had all the potential in the world to become one of the best tight ends in the league, but he suffered a meniscus injury last week and is now out for the season, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Be sure to take him out of your fantasy football draft rankings for this coming weekend. His replacement isn’t likely to have nearly as much fantasy upside as the Vikings backup tight ends are Tyler Conklin and recently traded for Chris Herndon. Conklin just returned to practice from a hamstring injury while Herndon will need to get up to speed on blocking assignments and the like.

The Vikings will rely even more on their stud trio of Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. All three should get all the targets they can handle, pushing them a notch higher in your fantasy ranking for the 2021 season.