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Irv Smith Jr. needs meniscus surgery, out indefinitely

Not good news just two weeks before the season starts.
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Irv Smith Jr.

A torn meniscus could mean the Vikings are without tight end Irv Smith Jr. for an extended period this season, and that's bad news since they're already inexperienced and dealing with injuries at his position. 

Smith played in Minnesota's preseason finale against Kansas City last Friday and did not appear to suffer an injury, so it's unclear when he tore the meniscus in his knee. But the injury will require surgery, with Dr. Chris Larson performing the operation sometime this week according to head coach Mike Zimmer. 

How long Smith will be out is unclear, but it's now very likely that he'll miss the season opener Sept. 12 against the Bengals. How far beyond that he's out is the unknown. 

Pro Football Focus injury expert Mario Pilato has suggested that a meniscectomy would keep Smith out 2-4 weeks, while a full-on meniscus repair would end his season. 

"I never heard the 6-8 months, so we'll just see where he's at," Zimmer said Monday. "A lot of times you can't really tell until you get in there." 

Backup tight end Tyler Conklin is expected to return to practice Monday, having missed significant time this preseason with a hamstring injury. 

Zimmer also provided a health update on outside linebacker Anthony Barr, saying he's "doing really good." 

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