By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has learned about Irv Smith in scrimmages.

“Irv can run and the fact that I left the ball short probably emphasizes even more that I have to trust him and believe that he can roll because I guess part of the reason I left it short was maybe I didn’t believe he was really getting behind them like that,” Cousins said.

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(credit: CBS)

He caught scouts’ attention at Alabama as a pass-catching tight end who can block. Then they go to work finding out more about potential draft picks.

“You may go back and talk to academic advisors or you may talk to people that run a dining hall and just kind of get a feel for what this guy is like,” Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said.

He has been what they were hoping for so far it seems. He is learning the NFL with the benefit of a father who played in the league.

“He just tells me to be a pro, you know, come in every day ready to work,” Smith said. “I don’t have school anymore, so this is my job.”

Now it’s time for the grind – the learning curve where you try to figure out what the new level really means.

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“Irv is continuing catching on with things he’s doing,” Zimmer said.

Part of it is understanding his teammates – Kirk Cousins needs to be your friend.

“It’s like a dream. You watch the NFL, you watch Kirk Cousins – big-time quarterback – on TV every Sunday. Now, I’m a part of that,” Smith said.

Sometimes, he will be asked to do it as a blocking tight end, something he did in college.

“I try to do everything the team wants me to do,” Smith said. “I’ll do whatever.”

Because it’s a new day and he understands what it is expected – he just needs to do it every day.

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“It’s not too much different from what I’m used to as a zone concept, I did a lot of that,” Smith said.

Mike Max