Irv Smith on Rudolph: 'We can be a great combination'
By Grant Gordon NFL.com
When Irv Smith Jr. was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the second round, Kyle Rudolph’s future immediately came into question.
The fate of the eight-year veteran in Skol country is still lingering, but Smith is one who’s hoping the two-time Pro Bowler stays put with the Vikings.
“It’s definitely not weird at all,” Smith told Lindsay Rhodes on Total Access on Thursday in regards to whether there was any awkwardness between the two tight ends. “He’s embraced me. I’ve learned a lot already from him. And I hope that he’s there, because I can learn from him and, you know, we can be a great combination.”
Selected with the 50th pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, Smith is coming off a junior campaign at Alabama in which he turned in a sensational 16.1 yards per catch, hauling in 44 grabs for 710 yards and seven touchdowns.
While his skill set would indicate him becoming a weapon in the Kirk Cousins-quarterbacked passing game in addition to receiving standouts Adam Thielen and Stephon Diggs, the rookie said the right things as it relates to helping the Vikings find success.
“Whatever the coaches, whatever they ask me to do, I’m going to do it,” Smith said. “If they ask me to be a blocker, a receiver. Whatever I need to do to help the team win and ultimately win a Super Bowl.”
All signs point to Smith, whose father was a seven-year NFL veteran, supplanting Rudolph, but if that happens this season or further down the road is a developing storyline. Rudolph could be traded, he could sign an extension, but he won’t be taking a pay cut.
For now, the Vikings have two terrific tight ends on the roster and Smith is hoping it stays that way.