Kevin O'Connell not ruling out tight end move for Vikings

Jordy McElroy
Vikings Wire

It’s a next-man-up mentality right now for the Minnesota Vikings in the wake of starting tight end Irv Smith Jr. going down with an injury, according to head coach Kevin O’Connell.

There’s a respect element clearly coming into play with O’Connell allowing the process to play out a bit with his backups before jumping on the phone and calling in the next veteran replacement.

But then there’s the reality element as well.

Smith has an injured thumb with no guarantee he’ll be ready to play in the season-opener, Johnny Mundt is coming off a torn ACL injury and none of the other tight ends on the roster are proven.

So it’s no surprise O’Connell left the door open for an addition to the roster, when asked about it on Wednesday.

“We’ll continue to kind of look at that. If we feel like, at any point in time we want to do that, I’ll get with [general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah] and his staff and we’ll talk about that,” O’Connell told media members. “…Ultimately, my goal is to see that group just kind of next-man-up mentality and thrive and take advantage of the unfortunate opportunity that came their way from Irv going down.”

There are still multiple free agent veteran tight ends that could come in and give the Vikings offense a boost.

Given Smith’s injury history, it makes sense to add another playmaker to the group, whether he’s ready to return or not by Week 1. The last thing the Vikings want is to be back here again, scrambling for an insurance policy at a position clearly lacking depth.