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Harrison Smith Gets Fired Up; Other Thoughts At Safety

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 13, 2012 – 5:14 am

Harrison Smith is a mild-mannered guy around Winter Park and in the locker room. Since arriving in Minnesota, the 1st-round safety has been gracious with his time in doing interviews and participating in community events.

But on Tuesday at Organized Team Activity #8, Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier saw a different side of Smith, even if for a brief moment. And he liked it.

“I don’t know if it’s surprising, but it made me feel pretty good,” Frazier said when asked if he’s seen anything that’s surprised him about Smith. “I saw a play today where he really got angry. He got pretty fired up and you kind of need that out of your defensive backs. You need them to have a little something about them. It was good to see.”

Frazier is a good judge on temperament. He’s a mild-mannered and soft-spoken individual as well, but when he was on the field as a standout NFL defensive back for the Chicago Bears in the 1980s, Frazier had a fierce attitude as well.

While meeting with reporters at Winter Park following Tuesday’s OTA, Frazier was also asked about a couple other safeties on the team’s roster competing for playing time – Robert Blanton and Jamarca Sanford.

Frazier, who called Sanford “one of the best special teams players in the League,” said that consistent open-field tackling will be key for Sanford as will displaying adequate range in pass coverage.

“Probably for Jamarca, just when we get the pads on, that’s when it’ll show up, where his fit will be, whether he’s going to be a starter for us or what role he’ll play,” Frazier said. “That will be the key for him, and being able to show the range in pass defense that we need and if he can get that accomplished in his second year as a potential starter, it’d be good for our defense, but putting the pads on will determine what happens with him down the road.”

As for Blanton, another rookie safety on the roster from Notre Dame, the key is transitioning from playing CB in college to safety in the NFL.

“There are some things you look at and you just know will take a little bit of time, just getting accustomed to being out in space. That’s different for him,” Frazier explained. “When you have the sideline as a twelfth man at times, you don’t have that safety. There’s a lot more space and the angles are a lot different and that takes time, but he’s getting it and we have to continue to expose him to more situations and we’re doing that. I think he’ll get it, but it’s just a matter of how fast it’ll be.”

While going through a position change in your first year in the NFL is certainly a tall task, Frazier refused to write the 2012 season off as just a developmental year for Blanton. He expects Blanton will challenge for serious playing time.

“I don’t look at it as a developmental season,” Frazier said. “This period that we’re in right now is more developmental because it’s not something he’s done very much of, but we’re hoping that he’ll challenge for a starting job and that’s why we drafted him when we did. We want him to challenge for a starting job at safety but it’s just a matter of how fast he’ll come along.”

 And don’t forget about Raymond. Frazier wasn’t asked about Raymond on Tuesday, but the 2nd-year safety on Tuesday had one of his best practices to date during OTAs. I saw him get his hands on a few passes and even haul in a couple of INTs. Raymond is in the mix to earn a starting spot as well.

Raymond and Sanford have taken snaps with the first team, but Smith got into that rotation as well this week. It’s too early yet to get a gauge on who has a hold on starting spots at this point because the team is still early in their preparations for the 2012 season and they’re more interested in experimenting with different combinations at this point than they are on deciding on a starting duo.

“That’s exactly what we’re trying to do,” Frazier said. “We started yesterday, we began to rotate guys and mix and match a little bit, just to see how they would gel together and we’ll continue to do it. We have quite a bit of time now before we get to that first game but we want to get a mix and see how guys work together to develop some chemistry in that secondary and that was a part of what happened today.”


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35 Responses to “Harrison Smith Gets Fired Up; Other Thoughts At Safety”

  1. By Mike B. on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    LIke to hear some reports on Loadholts progress especaily after how badly the Oline played. Especailly since critcis called him the Matador.

  2. By Megakrab on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    Good to hear the safetiesare doing well.

  3. By Mike B. on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    I am excited with all the rookies coming in the Def secondary. I am hoping it gets much better. But the retained crew wasn’t able to tackle last year except Winfield. I hope that we get some tackling so they are not picking us apart on those short 3 to 15 yrd p@sses. It was those p@sses that caused us to lose those large half time leads.

  4. By Semper Vikings on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    Yes we did get Harrison Smith, but he is going to be a rookie SS, and Mistral was obviously part of our problem in the secondary last season. (and you now our safties got burnt last year)

  5. By megakrab on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    Does anyone know the YAC stat against our secondary last year?

  6. By Semper Vikings on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    Now the problem that I believe is the biggest of all. (and nobody is talking about this) Jasper Brinkley is coming off of an injury that took him out last season. This is basically this second season, and as much as he says he is working on being an all around MLB he could not defend the pass at alllllllllllll, two years ago.

  7. By megakrab on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    We are looking at Brian Banks… lets hope he joins us and has an answer for our MLB position.

  8. By iaVIKE on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    Also don’t like that Brinkley has a groin injury now, I know they said it was more of a “precaution” to sit him out, but that’s still a little unsettling.

  9. By tariq on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    would like to see brian banks join our group of LB

  10. By NorthwoodsVikesFan on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    Here’s a link to stats for the worst cornerbacks from last season. Cedric Griffen landed in 2 of the 3 charts, but amazingly no Vikings were listed among the 10 worst CBs allowing YAC.

    http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2012/worst-cornerback-charting-stats-2011

  11. By NorthwoodsVikesFan on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    Notable absences
    Missing from Tuesday’s OTA were defensive end Jared Allen, running back Adrian Peterson, cornerback Antoine Winfield, receiver Percy Harvin and linebacker Chad Greenway. Harvin has missed four consecutive OTA sessions after returning to the field for the team’s June 5 practice. Frazier said again Tuesday that Harvin’s absence since last week has had nothing to do with the arthroscopic shoulder surgery the receiver had in April.

    Greenway is back home in South Dakota, tending to a serious family matter. The linebacker has already been given excused status to miss next week’s mandatory three-day minicamp.

    Etc.
    • Rookie receiver Greg Childs is back in action after missing the first two weeks of OTAs because of a calf strain. Childs is steadily working back toward full speed.

    • Linebacker Jasper Brinkley is not practicing this week because of a minor groin injury. He is expected to be back for next week’s minicamp. Fellow linebacker Solomon Elimimian also sat out Tuesday because of a hamstring issue

  12. By NorthwoodsVikesFan on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    Regarding Banks – 5 years inactivity is a LOT of rust to knock off. It makes a heartwarming story, but I wonder how much he could really contribute at this time.

  13. By megakrab on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    I think Banks has a real shot if he works hard. He just needs some SP Teams reps the first half of the season and a few D reps and I think he could be a solid back up and future starter.

  14. By megakrab on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    The first team he worked out for tried to sign him immediatley after and he refused so he could test the waters.

  15. By megakrab on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    He must have showed some sign of promise or potential.

  16. By megakrab on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    Shown… not showed

  17. By New Vike on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    Brian Banks really? He has never even took a snap at the D1 college level, what makes ppl think he can get it done in the pros after a 5 year layoff? I agree it would be great and i am routing for the guy, but can we be realistic here? His last snap of any kind of organized ball was in HIGH SCHOOL!

  18. By Semper Vikings on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    Does anyone no when he is working out for the Vikings? I believe he would add some seriously needed depth at our linebacker position.

  19. By NorthwoodsVikesFan on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    I read that he would be there Friday, if he does.

  20. By megakrab on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    I just hope he’s not typical prison big. They usually look like the old cartoon heroes. Huge upper body and tiny little legs. lol

  21. By vikingsfanintexas on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    I know nothing of Brian Banks, but if a kid almost 10 years out of football is the answer at MLB the Vikings are in deep trouble. Why would anyone expect him to be more than a long shot to even make the team? Come on folks, let’s not let a horrible injustice cloud our judgment and expectations.

  22. By NorthwoodsVikesFan on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    Just looked over the transactions list – who’s Corey Gatewood? WR free agent signed 6-4-12.

  23. By drew on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    Seem like we going to do well this year. We should just have Winfield be a safety coach, he can teach the safeties and corners how to tackle!

  24. By Semper Vikings on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    I think that they are doing the perfect thing with Winfield, do you all remember the game against the Eagles two seasons ago? Winfield was a beast and I think that was the first time I saw him play nickle back.

  25. By Semper Vikings on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    besides it gives him plays off, and he acts like a third linebacker when we go to the nickle. (as in his ability to tackle)

  26. By yonathon on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    who is brian banks?and i get his story…but what does that have to do with football where did he come from and can he even tackle??…tell me sumthin i dont kno

  27. By NorthwoodsVikesFan on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    Banks was a phenom in High School. That’s about it for football experience. But, hey, we’re trying out a basketball point guard, so why not?

  28. By Rogerthevikefan on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    I would give Raymond a break for how he played last year. He was a corner in collge and it take a few years to transition to saftey in the NFL. Pairing him with Smith would be ideal. Blanton could be great too but again will need time to transition into a safety.

  29. By Rogerthevikefan on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    If the Vikings do in fact sign Banks they will likely try to get him on the practice squad. He was being recruited heavily by USC and during that run they were turning out star LBs(C.Matthews, B.Cushing, R.Malaluga).

  30. By DAveJr on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    I like to see competition at all postions. The nfl is the only union that stays true to the theory of competition creates better results. If GM and Chrysler would have fired the union workers who were on the clock while at the bar or golf course and replaced them with people who are actually trying to do their job the best…. we would have a global car monopoly. SO.. bring this banks guy in and if he isnt the one then fire him.. It isnt that hard to figure out.. No wonder my vikings suck. The fans are just now becoming intelligent. Myself included.

  31. By Rogerthevikefan on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    The OLine needs compettion. LT and C are the only spots that should not be up for grabs. Fusco for LG. DeGeare or Schwartz for RG. Love for RT.

  32. By Immure on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    I don’t get all the hype around Banks. Yea it was a terrible thing that happened to him but he hasn’t played football in 5 years and that was in High School. The likely hood he actually makes it on a teams roster by the start of the season is very slim.

  33. By Nordeast on Jun 14, 2012 | Reply

    I’ll get back on the topic of safety here…

    I wish Abdullah would have come back and I wonder what’s going on with him and his brother who have both refused contracts so far! He was our best safety last year. I think Smith will develop into a great starter, but whether anyone else we have on the roster has that potential or even the ability to run with the starting team this year is up in the air yet.

  34. By alex roesch on Jun 20, 2012 | Reply

    all vikings are good team whloe wide wuold and vikings head coach to

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