Harrison Smith To Get More Work With First-Team Defense

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 13, 2012 – 5:22 am

Harrison Smith is one of the Vikings two 1st-round picks from last April’s draft. But so far during his short Vikings career, Smith has been running more with the second-team and third-team defenses than with the first team. According to Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier, though, that could be changing soon.

“One of the things when we went back to look at the tape, and we felt this way going in, [was] Harrison was really making a push,” Frazier said on Sunday. “He’s going to get a chance to work in that first group, and he did on Friday night as well, he just didn’t start the game. It will be the same this week, although we’re going to do some things a little bit different with the starting rotations on Friday night. He’s done enough now where we feel confident that he can go out there in a starter’s role and we want to see how he performs in that role. He very well could start (this) Friday, he’s did some good things when he was in there (last) Friday night.”

Those comments are great news for the Vikings. As a 1st-round pick, the expectation is for Smith to emerge from 2012 Verizon Vikings Training Camp, and it sounds like Smith is on track to do just that. Billed as an intelligent and instinctive defender with sound coverage skills and exceptional tackling ability, Smith should upgrade the Vikings at safety and help improve a pass defense that ranked 26th in yards allowed and last in TDs allowed in 2011.

All along, Vikings Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams defended putting Smith with the second and third team defenses by saying he wanted players to earn their spots as starters rather than be given starting positions based on draft position or pedigree. It sounds like Smith is doing everything the coaches are asking of him, including earning a spot as a starter on defense.

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