The Minnesota Vikings aren’t wasting any time making 1st-round pick Harrison Smith a focal point of their defensive strategy. Said Leslie Frazier: “We’re counting on him to be the starter. That’s why we drafted him where we did.” Smith started at free safety on Friday and was impressive in his 28 snaps, recording two tackles and knocking down a pass.
It sounds as though the Vikings are relying on Smith more for his coverage skills than his ability to get into the backfield. According to Smith, “The coaches have kind of been saying, ‘If we call your number on a blitz and you don’t make a play, we’re probably not going to send you again.'”
That may be an oversimplification by Smith, but it makes sense. The Vikings secondary has struggled immensly in recent years, and in the NFC North they can use all the help they can get. While it’d be nice to get some pressure on Rodgers, Stafford and Cutler, Smith is probably most valuable dropping back in coverage in an effort to aid the Vikings somewhat suspect cornerbacks.