Ihmir Smith-Marsette reportedly impacted Vikings’ draft strategy at receiver

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When everyone was still playing Sherlock Holmes to general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s draft philosophy, there was a lingering thought that the Minnesota Vikings might use their No. 12 overall pick of the 2022 NFL draft on a receiver.

The thought of pairing another high-end offensive playmaker with a skills group that already had Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn was the stuff of NFL dreams.

And maybe—just maybe—it would have been a reality if the group wasn’t already so deep. Justin Jefferson is one of the best receivers in the league, and Adam Thielen is a two-time Pro Bowler with plenty of juice still left in the tank. And Osborn is coming off an incredible season—50 receptions, 655 yards and seven touchdowns.

But truly, the real driving force behind the Vikings’ decision to stick with what they already have was second-year receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette. According to The Athletic’s Chad Graff, the former fifth-round draft pick out of Iowa is part of the reason why the team didn’t draft another receiver early.

After watching practice at OTAs, Graff wrote:

“Ihmir Smith-Marsette came down with an impressive catch during one drill. He’s part of the reason the Vikings didn’t feel the need to add a wide receiver early in the draft. The Vikings are excited to see how the 2021 fifth-round pick progresses after impressing the previous coaching staff in training camp last year.”

Smith-Marsette flashed last season when hauling in three receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown against the Chicago Bears in Week 18.

The Vikings were wise to use their draft picks on legitimate trouble spots, while giving their young players a chance to actually grow in the offense. Smith-Marsette’s surging talent could obviously lead to him getting more opportunities in coach Kevin O’Connell’s offense.

At the end of the day, the Vikings came to the rightful conclusion that there’s no use in searching for another diamond when one might possibly already exist on their roster.

Whether that player is Smith-Marsette or not remains to be seen. But there are those every now and then plays that give pause and make you think that it might be.

It makes you wonder if maybe the future is already here.

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