Since WR Steve Smith was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2001, he’s suited up against the Vikings 5 times. But because of the success he’s had in those 5 games, Vikings fans probably feel like he’s suited up against their team 55 times.
In 5 games against the Vikings, the 5-18, 195-pound speedy receiver has 30 receptions for 525 yards and 3 TDs. His best outing came in 2005, when he hauled in 11 receptions for 201 yards and a score. And he wasn’t bad in the last Vikings-Panthers battle, racking up 157 more receiving yards and a TD on 9 receptions.
That last outing came against a Vikings team that was on its way to an eventual appearance in the NFC Championship Game, and also against a Vikings team that had Leslie Frazier as its Defensive Coordinator. Because of that experience and undoubtedly several more that Frazier has had against Smith over the years, you can be sure the Vikings are working hard this week to find a way to contain #89.
And though Smith is already in his 11th season out of the University of Utah, he’s showing no signs of slowing down. He already has 4 games of 100+ receiving yards, including an epic season-opening performance where he caught 8 passes for 178 yards and 2 TDs. Smith is the NFL’s leader in receiving yards with 818 and he’s averaging a ridiculous 21.0 yards per reception as well.
“He’s having a terrific season, maybe the best start of his career,” Frazier commented on Wednesday. “He’s a guy that we have to pay attention to in the passing game every single down and try to come up with an answer for some of the plays that he’s making. And he’s making plays on everybody. But he’s a guy you have to contend with, we’re well aware of him, and hopefully we can play better than we have in the past against him.”
Every time Smith has gone against the Vikings, he’s produced a performance worth remembering. His worst outing was in 2008, when he had 4 receptions for 70 yards, which is still a pretty decent showing. This year, though, the Vikings will try to make this outing one to forget for Smith.
Tags: Leslie Frazier
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