The Minnesota Vikings will enter Week 1 with a sizable hole in the starting lineup.
Tight end Irv Smith is expected to undergo surgery for a meniscus injury that will sideline him for at least the start of the regular season, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported.
Smith's exact recovery timeline is still to be determined.
A second-round pick out of Alabama in 2019, Smith seemed poised to have a breakout campaign in 2021, with the 23-year-old sitting atop the depth chart thanks to the departure of longtime starter Kyle Rudolph in free agency.
Smith played mostly behind Rudolph his first two seasons but did manage to start in seven games both years. He holds career totals of 66 receptions for 676 yards and seven touchdowns in 29 career games played.
With backup Tyler Conklin dealing with an injury of his own, Minnesota will now have to rely on 2019 undrafted prospect Brandon Dillon and rookie Zach Davidson for production at the position if Conklin is also unavailable for Week 1.
- The Washington Football Team has named quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick its starter, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Fitzpatrick went a combined 12-of-21 for 154 yards in two starts during the preseason.
- The Indianapolis Colts named Jacob Eason their backup quarterback. Eason battled with Sam Ehlinger this preseason, while Carson Wentz was out with a foot injury. Eason went 41-of-62 in three games, throwing for 389 yards.
- Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith became the second highest-paid safety in the NFL, agreeing to terms on a four-year extension worth up to $64 million.
- New York Giants tight end Evan Engram was ruled out against the Patriots with a calf injury. Wide receiver Darius Slayton (ankle/foot) also exited early and did not return. Wide receiver C.J. Board suffered an elbow injury. Coach Joe Judge told reporters afterward that Engram and Slayton were "optimistic" about their injuries, but they will be examined by doctors Monday.
- Dallas Cowboys rookie cornerback Kelvin Joseph exited early against the Jaguars with a left groin injury and did not return.
- Cincinnati Bengals tight end Mitchell Wilcox was ruled out against the Dolphins with a concussion. Offensive lineman Trey Hill exited early with a groin injury.
- San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Travis Benjamin was ruled out against the Raiders with a concussion.
- Indianapolis Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton is undergoing an evaluation for a neck injury that's expected to keep him out for at least a few weeks, Rapoport and NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported, per familiar sources. Colts coach Frank Reich told reporters Hilton is dealing with a disc issue and that, while he'll miss some games, the team is optimistic the injury is not season-ending. Quarterback Carson Wentz (foot) is expected to participate in full-team periods in Monday's practice, while guard Quenton Nelson is expected to come off the reserve/COVID-19 list.
- Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins is out for the 2021 season with a torn ACL, Pelissero reported.
- The Tennessee Titans placed running back Brian Hill on injured reserve and center Ben Jones on reserve/COVID-19 list.
- Cleveland Browns guard Drew Forbes (knee) was ruled out against the Falcons.
- New York Jets coach Robert Saleh told reporters he was optimistic about Week 1 availabilities of a number of players with minor injuries: safety Lamarcus Joyner, left tackle Mekhi Becton, receiver Denzel Mims and running back La'Mical Perine.
- The New York Jets are trading for Houston Texans pass rusher Shaq Lawson, Rapoport reported.
- The Tennessee Titans released defensive end John Simon and defensive back Clayton Geathers and waived defensive lineman Freedom Akinmoladun, defensive back Nate Brooks and linebacker Cassh Maluia.