Irv Smith Jr., TE (MIN)

Spotted jogging Thursday

Smith (ankle) was present for the Vikings' practice session Thursday and was spotted jogging off to the side under the supervision of the team's training staff, Alec Lewis of The Athletic reports.

The Vikings haven't designated Smith for return from injured reserve and are unlikely to do so before the end of the week, but the fact that the tight end was at the team facility taking part of cardio work suggests that a return to practice could soon be in the offing. Smith was able to avoid surgery after suffering a significant high-ankle sprain in the Vikings' Oct. 30 win over the Cardinals, though head coach Kevin O'Connell said that he anticipated the 24-year-old would miss 4-to-8 weeks in total while recovering from the injury. Smith is just over five weeks removed from sustaining the high-ankle sprain and looks to be tracking toward the midpoint or longer end of that timeframe. Whenever he's cleared to play, Smith will likely have to settle for a bit role on offense, as trade-deadline pickup T.J. Hockenson is poised to dominate the snaps at tight end so long as he's available.

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