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Irv Smith Jr. signs with Cincinnati Bengals

A chance at redemption

NFL: JAN 15 NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Giants at Vikings Photo by Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After four years of never fully realizing his potential with the Minnesota Vikings, tight end Irv Smith Jr. has found himself a new opportunity to prove himself.

Per numerous sources, Smith has signed a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Smith was the Vikings’ second-round pick out of Alabama in the 2019 NFL Draft and didn’t do a whole lot as a rookie, catching just 36 passes for 311 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He had a pretty solid second year in 2020 and the expectations for him going into his third season were pretty high, particularly with the Vikings having bid farewell to veteran Kyle Rudolph that offseason.

Unfortunately, that never materialized for Smith as he missed the entire 2021 season following a meniscus injury he suffered in the preseason finale. So, the hype carried over to 2022 and, again, Smith was unable to stay on the field. He suffered an ankle injury in Week 8 and missed much of the rest of the season, though he did return for the playoffs.

For his Vikings’ career, Smith caught 91 passes for 858 yards and nine touchdowns. He also had a three-yard TD catch in the playoff loss to the Giants.

As far as a landing spot, it doesn’t get much better for Smith than landing with the Bengals. He’ll be in an offense that’s loaded with talent and could. . .if he stays healthy. . .finally realize the potential that he never quite reached in Minnesota.

Best of luck to Irv Smith Jr. going forward. . .except, of course, for when he plays the Vikings.