Irv Smith doing more at practice with eyes on playing Week 1

Vikings tight end Irv Smith‘s plans for training camp hit a bump when he hurt his thumb in early August and had to have surgery that kept him off the field for weeks.

Smith returned to practice last week in a limited capacity and has steadily increased his workload, which now includes catching passes from quarterback Kirk Cousins in order to make sure his thumb is up to the challenges of the position. On Wednesday, Smith said that head coach Kevin O’Connell has “been working me in more” and that progress has him looking forward to facing the Packers in Week 1.

“That’s the plan,” Smith said, via the team’s website. “We’ve been working at it, and I’m still working at it every day.”

Smith said that he does not plan to wear any brace or other protective gear on his thumb during the season and the Vikings will be hoping that allows him to be a productive piece of their offense all year.