Irv Smith was up and raring to go with Good Morning Football.
The Vikings tight end joined the GMFB crew virtually Thursday and covered a number of topics, including belief in quarterback Kirk Cousins heading into the 2021 campaign.
"Kirk has done a great job with the Vikings. Last year, we were a top-five offense and [he] made a lot of smart plays," Smith told GMFB co-host and former Vikings receiver Nate Burleson. "Defensively we didn't play too well, obviously, so our record didn't show for it, but this year I'm very excited.
"We've got a lot of weapons on offense. Kirk, he told us he's just the point guard out there," Smith continued. "He's just going to deliver the ball and put it in the playmakers' hands, and we're going to make some plays. … He's playing with a chip on his shoulder, he's got a lot more swagger this year, for sure, and I'm very excited. It's going to be fun."
Burleson also gave Cousins a shout-out on behalf of the show.
"We love us some Kirk, all the way around," Burleson said.
Cousins and Smith are entering their first season under Vikings Offensive Coordinator Klint Kubiak, who last year served as Minnesota's quarterbacks coach. The younger Kubiak is assuming the position after his father, Gary, announced his retirement following the 2020 season.
And prior to Gary Kubiak's guidance, the Vikings offense was led by Kevin Stefanski, who now is entering his second season at the helm in Cleveland.
Despite the turnover at OC, though, Smith assured that he and his teammates are comfortable in the system.
"It's super cool having those three offensive coordinators [because] the offense, schematically, really hasn't changed. So this is all of our third year in this offense, besides Justin [Jefferson]. We've seen what he did with no … preseason, no OTAs, last year, and he [created] a crazy spark," Smith said. "Having that weapon with Justin; with [Adam]Thielen, who's been proven in making so many plays in his career; Dalvin Cook, obviously one of the top backs in the league; myself and Kirk. I feel like with that group, as well as Tyler Conklin, the sky's the limit."
Smith not only has high expectations for Minnesota's team as a whole but for his personal development in Year 3.
Being that longtime Viking Kyle Rudolph now is with the Giants, Smith will be looked to as the Vikings No. 1 tight end – and he's up for the responsibility.
"I have very high expectations, especially for myself. I don't want to put an exact number out there … but it's going to be a lot," Smith said. "I'm going to be scoring a lot, making a lot of plays – helping my offense in any way. Helping my team. I want to be able to be a playmaker out there – whether it's in the run game, pass game, scoring touchdowns, making a key block – whatever it is.
"I just want to, at the end of the day, win a Super Bowl," Smith added.
Smith may have avoided naming specific benchmarks, but Burleson came prepared with a mini whiteboard and dry-erase marker.
"That's OK; you don't want to put numbers out there? I'll do it for you," Burleson laughed, writing on the board. "How does this sound?"
He flashed the following to his screen:
"We gotta break 900," Smith prodded.
Burleson changed his board to 60, 1,000 and 11.
"Those are good numbers," he told Smith.
No matter what his final stats are in 2021, Smith feels great about the offense's trajectory and can't wait to get back to work after a disappointing 7-9 finish.
Asked to preview any upcoming touchdown celebrations, Smith again held his cards close to the vest.
"It's going to be a lot of cutting up in the end zone, for sure. I can't tell you exactly what the touchdown dances are gonna be … but there are going to be a lot of them, as far as our whole group," Smith said with a smile. "I'm just excited to get back in the stadium, have the fans involved – I know U.S. Bank Stadium is gonna be rockin' – so we're gonna be doing a lot of Griddy-ing and a lot of jiggy-ing. A lot of throwing up the Bs – all that."
Below are two other topics Smith discussed with the GMFB crew.
1. Rodgers or no Rodgers?
Smith was asked about the seeming uncertainty about whether or not Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be returning for his 17th season with Green Bay.
But ultimately, Smith emphasized, another team's quarterback situation shouldn't be the Vikings focus, nor is it.
"I've just seen the little things that pop up on the TV. To be honest, it's nothing that we can control," Smith told GMFB co-host Kay Adams. "Obviously Aaron Rodgers is a top quarterback, one of the best in the league, so if he's not [in the division] it would be great for us. But regardless, we want to get at him, anyway. It'll be fun."
2. Smith hosting 'We the Change' camp
On Saturday, Smith is hosting his second annual "Be the Change" camp in his hometown of New Orleans.
"I'm very, very excited about this camp," Smith said. "I just want the kids to come out and have fun and show love to the city. New Orleans is a place that I feel like, we have so much talent and so many young people who want to make a difference and want to make a change in this community.
"I just want everybody to come out, have fun and be the change. That's what it's all about," he added.
Smith referenced playing youth basketball for Mike Bibby's club team and said the former NBA star made a "big impact" on his life.
"I just want to be the same to these kids in my community," Smith said.