The Vikings are preparing to start the season without tight end Irv Smith Jr.
Smith is expected to have surgery for a meniscus injury and miss the start of the regular season, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
The 23-year-old Smith is heading into his third season with the Vikings and was expecting to play a bigger role in their offense this year. Smith himself predicted he’ll score a lot of touchdowns this season.
With Smith out, backup tight end Tyler Conklin will likely see increased playing time early in the season, although Conklin has also been dealing with an injury. The Vikings will be thin at tight end when they visit Cincinnati in Week One.