EAGAN, Minn. -- At first he was swimming. By the end of training camp, he was surprising.
The Minnesota Vikings were drawn to Irv Smith Jr.'s athleticism when they used a second-round pick (50th overall) to draft the former Alabama tight end in April. They prioritized finding quarterback Kirk Cousins a sturdy, middle-of-the-field threat who could create mismatches with linebackers or safeties and line up in a multitude of spots.
That ability in the passing game has been evident over the past month, but his work as a run-blocker, an area where rookie tight ends often struggle, has caught some coaches off guard.