The Vikings TE room isn't the most awe inspiring room on the team. It has some talented guys, but it isn't going to wow anyone. Irv Smith has had some hype for a few years so hopefully he can fully breakout in 2022. The other guys are mainly there for their blocking prowess. So let's take a dive into what I expect out of these guys in 2022.
Irv Smith Jr.
Irv is coming off an injury that cost him his entire 2021 season. Now, he comes in again as the number one tight end with high expectations as a pass catcher. Irv can create matchup nightmares since he is too big and strong for safeties and too athletic for linebackers. I expect Irv to finish the season around 40 catches for 450 yards and 5 TDs. He can be a red zone weapon so those TDs may explode. He'll have to play himself into game shape so he may not be his peak self right away, but come the back stretch of the season Irv Smith has the potential to be a game changer.
I'm not sure what to expect out of Mundt. If he had to step up as the TE1, would the position just become non-existent in the offense? Does he have the pass catching skills to help at all in the pass game? I believe these questions remain unanswered, but at some point this season I am sure they will come back up. In 47 career games Mundt has just 10 catches on 13 targets for 93 yards. If he ends up atop the Vikings TE depth chart for whatever reason, I would hope a trade or free agent signing is done to help solidify the position. Mundt should go on to surpass his career totals this year, as my projections are he'll finish the season with 12 catches for 105 yards and his first career TD.
Ellefson, like Mundt, is mainly on the roster due to his work in the run game. He only has one catch in 12 career games. I don't expect Ellefson to have any role in the passing game, but two catches for ten yards would be a career year in that department for him. Just for fun I projected Ellefson for 5 catches, 26 yards, and a TD. That's five times his career catches, and 2.6 times his career yards, in just one season. You'll generally only see Ellefson on the field in 2 TE power run sets, and when all three TE's see the field together on a 4th and inches or inside the two yard line. However, in a more pass happy offense, a few opportunities could present themselves.