The Johnny Mundt Experiment Is Off to a Good Start
One of the storylines of Week 1 for the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 was the fact that Johnny Mundt ended up being the TE1 rather than Irv Smith Jr. Mundt took 40 snaps compared to Smith’s 19 on Sunday against the Packers. Additionally, Mundt matched a career high with three receptions on the day for a total of 17 yards. He caught the first pass attempt of the season from Kirk Cousins for a 10-yard gain.
Throughout much of the offseason, Kevin O’Connell and Wes Phillips offered praise for Mundt, repeatedly stating that he could be a receiving tight end on this team, despite only having 10 career catches going into Sunday’s game.
Thus far, the theory that Mundt can contribute as a receiver is being proven correct. Especially as Irv Smith continues to get back up to speed in the offense, his abilities will be extremely useful to the Vikings passing game. Additionally, Mundt provides value as a blocker in ways that Smith simply cannot.
As the season moves forward, I would expect to see more and more of Smith on passing downs, but perhaps getting used to life without the fourth-year tight end could be a good thing for the Vikings. Smith enters free agency following the 2022 season, and the Vikings may not see a point in bringing him back on a new contract. This is especially so considering the number of tight end prospects that we could see enter the 2023 Draft.
Overall, the fact that the Vikings were able to move the ball on offense without many hiccups with Smith being a contributor should be encouraging. It will be very interesting to see what type of role both Mundt and Smith play against a strong Philadelphia Eagles defensive unit.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh can often be found training for a marathon, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken