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Safety First Continued: Harrison Smith Continues Progression

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 15, 2012 – 5:56 pm

Mistral Raymond: He’s Got The Look
Harrison Smith: Progression Continues

Our daily look at three players vying for starting safety positions continues today with analysis of Harrison Smith.

The Vikings came into the 2012 NFL Draft with one first-round pick, but after some wheeling and dealing they emerged from the first-round with a pair of selections. The second first-round pick was S Harrison Smith, an instinctive tackling machine out of Notre Dame who will improve the Vikings safety position.

Smith is a mild-mannered individual around Winter Park and in the locker room, but he’s entirely different on the field. Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier saw that edge from Smith during the offseason program, and he liked it.

“I saw a play where he really got angry,” Frazier said. “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.”

Alan Williams, the Vikings new defensive coordinator, agreed that Smith has an edge to him and also commented that the rookie is an intelligent player

“I love that, Williams said. “You want your safeties to be quarterbacks and smart, but you want some nastiness to them too. And he has that.”

As a first-round pick, the expectation is for Smith to begin the season as a starter at safety. Smith could be the opening-day starter at one safety spot, but one sure thing is he won’t be handed that responsibility. Williams wants Smith to ascend to the top of the depth chart on the strength of his on-field performance rather than the label of a first-round pick.

“When guys come in and they’re new, especially rookies, I like to have them earn their spot,” Williams said. “Even though Harrison (Smith) is doing well and some of the other guys are doing well, it’s important that guys earn the spot, that I don’t make the decision, the decision is made based on what we see on tape. When he earns a spot, that’s when he’ll play.”

Judging by Smith’s performance so far, that won’t be long from now. He played well in the Vikings preseason debut against San Francisco last week, and that might lead to increased playing time in this Friday’s preseason game against the Buffalo Bills.

“He played well,” Williams said. “The game wasn’t too big for him. He looked like he belonged out there. Again, we want to see that same thing (Friday night). Can he get lined up? Can he communicate to the defense? Can he operate within the defense and can he do that on a consistent basis? When a play comes at him can he make the play?”

If Smith’s performance on Friday night causes the Vikings coaching staff to answer those questions in the affirmative, then Smith will be in a position to help the Vikings defense answer their biggest question – can the pass defense improve from last year?

After ranking 26th in overall passing defense and 32nd in passing touchdowns allowed in 2012, it can’t get much worse. But with Smith in the fold, the Vikings passing defense figures to be much, much better.


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 88 Comments »


88 Responses to “Safety First Continued: Harrison Smith Continues Progression”

  1. By Bluebird7 on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    Smith isn’t just one of the “Smith Boys” He is a Powerhouse!

  2. By Spencer on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    As far as im concerned Jamarca Sanford lost his right to start based on how turrible he played last season.

  3. By packhater on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    Some advice for Alan Williams.
    Put Smith with the 1st team so he gains as much experience as possible and evaluate him after the first few games of the regular season. We already know what the other ones cant do. It’s not rocket science.

  4. By vikingology1 on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    Sanford is not a good player-Williams has a good philosophy, but has no ammo. Harrison is the best we have in that position hands down.

  5. By Spoiler Alert on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    Packhater, I like your name as I hate the Packers more than anyone, but I think Allen Williams has a better handle on professional football than a blogger.

  6. By Smith on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    C’mon Harrison, don’t disgrace my name brother!

  7. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    He’s got the look… Wobbles is taking us back to his favorite music.

  8. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    We are playing some really good teams in preseason– good for our development and to gauge what might happen. Bills are definitely an up and coming power — some rankings place them at 10-6, coming in behind the Pats in their division. I think they will dethrone the Patriots– they beat them once last year and almost twice and they are much better. Then we have the Texans. All three of these teams (Niners) could be in the big dance this year.

  9. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    i wanted to post on the Bills site but all the comment sections are off. Looking at their schedule, I honestly believe they will win 12 or 13 games, barring any major injuries. We should be thankful for vikings.com –

  10. By Sir Greasy Panda on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    The bills started off hot but injuries killed their season. Also Fitz began to throw a lot of INTs. I had him on my fantasy. loved him then hated him

  11. By Anthony on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    I was so glad when they said we drafted him in the first rd I’ve watched him a lot back at Notre Dame and he is a great Safety something this D has lacked for a while now. He’s smart, reads plays well, tackles great, and has good hands I think he could be the next John Lynch that’s how highly I think of this guy. Very happy to have him on our team and I can’t wait to watch him play this Friday vs the Bills alongside Robinson who will also get a good amount of playing time hopefully they jel nicely and both make lots of great plays for us. Go Minnesota Vikings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. By Frederick Jones on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    @SirGreasyPanda,

    You cannot just go by yards given up to declare a defense is worst at something. The Packers were way ahead in most of their games, so opponents had to p.a.s.s. Plus the Packers tended to score quickly, which also gives opponents more time to whip the football.

  13. By Frederick Jones on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    Joe Webb had a bad outing against the 49ers. Romo, Sanchez, and other QBs also had bad days. How quickly we forget what Joe’s running ability can do for us. This was from a game his rookie year:

  14. By Frederick Jones on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    Can Joe throw the ball? Remember in addition to leaping ability better than anyone else’s, blinding speed, he also has among the biggest hands among any NFL QB.

    Check out this TD p.a.s.s. last year.

    Joe has many gifts for the QB position even beyond Tim Tebow!!!

  15. By Frederick Jones on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    However even Joe needs time. Give him Brady, Rodgers, Brees, or Rivers time and watch him throw for 300 yards every game!!!

  16. By Sir Greasy Panda on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    @ Fred jones
    when you give up the most yards HISTORICALLY id say its pretty bad. they can just score more than they allow

  17. By Sir Greasy Panda on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    think about all the bad teams of all time and yet they still gave up more. how is that not the worst?

  18. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    Fred, I remember that game at TCF– we looked goo at first, but then Favre got knocked unconscious– looked like we might beat those Bears. Then Webb came in and well, you can see on your YouTube how badly we were thrashed— yeah, Webb has some athleticism, but who doesn’t? Send an angry pit bull into a shopping center and watch grandmas jump over kiosks.

  19. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    good, not goo.

  20. By Sir Greasy Panda on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    you posted a video of webb against CHI in a blow out game? didnt ponder come in a similar blow out last season and throw for almost 100 yards in one quarter against the same team?

  21. By Woodboat on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    Fred….

    Yeah, we forget what the QUARTERBACKS RUNNING ability can do for us. SO… that’s what you want from your quarterback? The ability to run the ball? TEBOW can run the ball, should we have traded for him? Tavaris Jackson can run the ball, and the last I’d heard, he’s being unsuccessfully shopped by the Seahawks and will most likely be unemployed by opening day… (they don’t want to have to pay a third string QB 4 million… cheapskates….)

    BTW, Ponder isn’t exactly Chad Pennington back there. CP has some wheels when they are called for. Oh, and he can run the entire offense and actually deliver the ball to his receivers in such a manner that they don’t need arms like Plasticman to be able to get a finger on it.

    Just let it go, brother. Let’s talk about how worried we are about our O Line instead…. :)

  22. By Sir Greasy Panda on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    Webb = a faster T Jack

  23. By Sir Greasy Panda on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    remember when t-jack threw 4 tds against arizona and won nfc player of the week? lets post a video of that!

  24. By Woodboat on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    exactly, Sir GP

  25. By Sir Greasy Panda on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

  26. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    Sorry Fred, but Webb had his chance– this is his third year and he looks worse than ever while the third stringer looked twice as good.

  27. By Woodboat on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    BTW, Wobbs…. err… Titus, what was with that “we are lucky to have vikings.com” shot on the last blog entry? Are we to assume that Wobbs is actually the imposter that has been haunting these boards, or are you angling for a job… or are you merely like a near-sighted proctologist that REALLY gets into his work?

    In honor of the recently forcibly retired 85…. “Child, Please…..”

  28. By Woodboat on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    I kid because I love. I like the site, too, bro :) I just wish that there was a little more leniency with the “swear-checker”.

  29. By Sir Greasy Panda on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    they are re-airing the Viking SF game right now on NFL network and our gap coverage is horrible, there wasnt any discipline by the defense. They left their lanes to make the big play but got burned instead

  30. By Sir Greasy Panda on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    Titus always gives Wobby a hard time, i thought that was weird too.

  31. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    I am tired and I am really tired of hearing this “child please” reference to Ochochnico– that phrase goes way back before him.

  32. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    SGP– I give Wobbles a hard time because I care. But really I was thanking all of my fellow bloggers for the participation– a lot of NFL sites are like a ghost town.

  33. By Sir Greasy Panda on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    that is true, ive looked at several sites and none has fan participation like ours. Wobby is a big part of that i think. I remember years back, before wobby was here, they had this young blonde girl and this guy running around training camp trying to get interviews from the players. it was horrible

  34. By Sir Greasy Panda on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    I would kill for Wobb’s job

  35. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    No, SGP, this site has a lot of bloggers because of YOU. Without all the colorful characters chatting on here, this site would be empty. A lot of sites have much better writing and some have much better website design. No, it is the fans– we are the champions, my friend…

  36. By Sir Greasy Panda on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    then you should remove caesar from your title and call yourself senator titus because you claim rome belongs to the people haha

  37. By Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    all in fun SGP, all in fun. I think it is cooling down and I will retire to my chambers soon.

  38. By Sir Greasy Panda on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    yeah the blog was sort of slow tonight

  39. By Spencer on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    Well lets turn it up!

  40. By Spencer on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    Im also re-watching the Vikes game and yea…Stephen Burton should no longer be returning kicks. He was horrible back there.

  41. By Sir Greasy Panda on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    does anyone know when we would start playing at tcf field? next season maybe?

  42. By Sir Greasy Panda on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    last season he kept fielding kicks deep, he should have let those go as touch backs. maybe josh robinson could step up

  43. By Spencer on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    Josh Robinson should be the guy returning kicks vs the Bills. I wanna see that 4.28/40 speed on returns!

    BAROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  44. By Sir Greasy Panda on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    I hope we beat chicago this season, we havent beat them since 2009 and i hate them the most. plus my boss is a bears fan who swears theyre winning the superbowl

  45. By Richard1A on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    Why not a report on Solomon Elimimien the linebacker who knows how to play, and was voted the best hitter in all of the CFL, he could help, we were the 3rd worst team in all the NFL last year! D’OH D’OH D’OH! This is like sitting out A.P. in a important game because they want to see if some other back can play, illogical watson, ilogical!!

  46. By Spencer on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    Face it Rich, Solomon just isnt a baller.

  47. By Sir Greasy Panda on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    Elimimien was a big fish in a pond now hes a big fish in an ocean, with hundreds of big fish

  48. By Spencer on Aug 15, 2012 | Reply

    Just out of curiosity…anybody here prefer Bing over Google?

  49. By Sir Greasy Panda on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    never used bing

  50. By Spencer on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    Bing is where its at.

  51. By Spencer on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    Reggie Jones should get cut for that terrible performance against the 49ers.

  52. By Immure on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    Spencer- What if Jones has a great game against the Bills and Felder gets torched against them, should we then cut Felder?

  53. By Immure on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    Or should we wait til the end of preseason to see which undrafted free agent deserves a spot on the team?

  54. By Spencer on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    It depends, you see Jones was torched by guys that are destined to get cut or only make the practice squad…so clearly hes not ready for primetime.

    Its one thing if he would have been struggling against 1st stringers, but he was getting outworked by guys who wont even make the 53-man roster.

  55. By Immure on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    You do make a very valid point and Jones does need to step up his game if he wants to make the team. I would like to see Felder play some reps on the second team to see if he can hold his own against players that aren’t third stringers.

  56. By H.M.G. on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    Wobby is lucky to still have a job after the disrespect he has shown us Viking fans. Wobby=Weasel.

  57. By H.M.G. on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    Wobschall the disappointment of the entire Vikings orginization.

  58. By sunnyazvike on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    what number is reggie jones 29? this site lists numbers wrong on our roster link, so cant be sure.

  59. By sunnyazvike on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    watched the replay over again, and Bowman seems to be pretty good. wonder if he could push for aq spot, sherels looks really improved as well. wouldnt mind keeping 6 cb’s instead of wideouts. Winfield, Cook, Carr, Robinson, Sherels, Bowman.

  60. By sunnyazvike on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    Carr didnt seem to do bad, I know he gave up a td by the football missing his left shoulder by inches. Made a good open field tackle. Still think he will out perform the other inexpierenced corners, plus felder and jones would have a better chance of passing waivers.

  61. By viks8&8 on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    @Titus,Spencer, SGP

    Thank you for all you interesting comments. I was waiting for the Smith update all day yesterday, and have to say after reading it today I am very dissapointed. This article had nothing we didnt already know in it. All it really was was a repost of qoutes from the coaches. Is wobs even going to practice and watching to give us insider info.

    Thank you guys again for the comments without being able to read those this blog would be worthless.

  62. By viks8&8 on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    @ Woodboat

    Cut out the Smiley Faces! Its just creepy.

  63. By Mike B. on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    I see we are still beating up on Joe Webb. I think we should all agree that Webb is a good back up to Ponder. He does the things a backup QB should do. It is obvious he doesn’t currently have all the tools to be a starting QB in this league. He may never have them. But lots of players never become starters and have long careers in the NFL. TJack made it to become a starting QB, but it appears now to be ending. Childress was very high on TJack an dWebb as they were possibly diamonds in the rough players. Sometimes things just don’t pan out. I don’t look at it as a knock on Webb, but he is a good backup QB. No point throwing him under the bus after a single game.

  64. By Deer Tracks* on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    You are correct, Mike B. I like what I see in Ponder, However, I am sick and tired of all those that keep trashing Webb!

    Only one lousy preseason game, and every clown in the country wants to ditch Joe!

    Most of the anti-Webb crowd, cry buckets for wonderful Ponder, but Joe makes a mistake, and WOW, “Lets Trade him for a sack of beans”! Sheesh!

  65. By Spoiler Alert on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    Why not trash Webb, all the Webb lovers trashed Ponder before he ever stepped on the field. Get real…

  66. By viks8&8 on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    Deer Tracks

    Are you a female? Not dissing you if you are, but you always seem to cry like my 12 year old sister when you aren’t happy about somthing.

  67. By Spoiler Alert on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    BOOOO FREAKIN HOOO. Face it guys, Webb is not reliable enough to be a starter. In my opinion, he should be a third stringer. He has poor pocket presence and accuracy issues. His only positive attribute is his ability to run. He had one good game against philly, but there were plenty of factors that played into that game. I’d feel much more comfortable with Rosenfels as a backup. He has exp. and if not for Favre, would likely have been the starter in 09-10.

  68. By Deer Tracks* on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    Actually, I still have it swinging down below, vikis89., not like you that has to take it out with a tweezer!

    Strange that you don’t call other bloggers crybaby, when they voice their opinions!

    But then, you know everything, don’t you .

  69. By Deer Tracks* on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    Spoiler Alert, Your opinion does not count! Just ask vikes8x8= NOTHING!

  70. By Ozzinator on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    @ Deer Scat – Spoiler Alert and viks8&8 are correct, your opinion on Webb is F’d up. Not unlike your politics!

  71. By Troutdaddy on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    A few thoughts here. @ H.M.G. Wobbs is just doing his job. Lay off the man already. You act as if he has cut off your hands or something… He has a RESPONSIBILITY to make this blog so that young and old a like can come here for info. Not an easy job being a baby-sitter to those who can’t “Filter” their own garbage. At Woodboat- LOL. Made me laugh out-loud literally. @Fred- I agree with the fact that Webb needs to be developed A LOT more and is nowhere near where he needs to be to truly back-up Ponder. Ponder is going to be the future. Focis on that rather than hold onto the small glimer of Webb geting it done any tme soon. I Like Webb, just trying to be realistic. Lastly- I agree with Titus in the fact that this site at least is giving us the oportunity to talk to each other. Many sites do not, so with that said, I am grateful to have this site to give my opinion- whether people agree or not…

  72. By 8&8isgreat on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    my opinion counts about as much as yours, Deer Tracks.

  73. By Spoiler Alert on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    HA, you wish Deer Tracks. My opinion is based on fact, yours is based on what you wish would happen. Get real. And you must not read my posts, I criticize everyone equally.

  74. By Spoiler Alert on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Fred, If I remember right, we lost that game…bad.

  75. By Viks8&8 on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    @DeerTracks

    Chill out all your doing is proving my point. I understand that you don’t know what your body is going through but this is somthing all teenage girls have to deal with.

  76. By Viks8&8 on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    In all reality though– What does everyone think about moving winfield back to saftey on non passing downs like the Packers are doing with Woodson. I am not saying I support the idea, but it does offer some interesting lineups in the secondary. Possibly favorable ones.

  77. By Frederick Jones on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    @Wood, Sir Grease, and Titu,

    That was entertaining stuff about Webb.

    Entertaining but untrue. Joe can throw the ball and has proven it many times, however his running ability is thousands of times better than most QBs.

    That is the point I was making.

  78. By Frederick Jones on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    Sir Grease,

    What do the other years of OTHER franchises have to do with last year’s Green Bay Packers p.a.s.s. defense.

    The Packers were 15-1 last year. You had to pass to beat them!

  79. By Frederick Jones on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    @Titus,

    I thought you said that you would not over-react to the pre-season games. It seems that you have done that with Joe Webb.

    Romo and Sanchez also had lousy games. Should they also be traded or cut?

  80. By Richard1A on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    Biggest fish in that pond, now to make his way to the top of the big pond!

  81. By Deer Tracks* on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    Vikes8x8=69.

    Have you stopped humping your neighbor’s dog? Answer yes or no.

  82. By Deer Tracks* on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    0zzinator

    Your ” opinion” is as weak..

    Wait until Webb has to come in like Mighty Mouse to “Save the Day”

  83. By DrinkHeavyVikingFans on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    If the OL and DL don’t show up this year, it won’t matter who is QB, Ponder or Webb – both will be on the IR list. Everyone says it’s a passing league now but big games will always be won or lost at the line of scrimmage. This team better start converting 3rd and 1s and getting people blocked at the goal line if we want to win some games.

  84. By frenum49 on Aug 16, 2012 | Reply

    wow is this blog accepting posts again!!!!!????

  85. By Rocksalt on Aug 17, 2012 | Reply

    LOL Ozzinator…the voice of the people! LMFAO!!!

  86. By DrinkHeavyVikingsFans on Aug 17, 2012 | Reply

    “When guys come in and they’re new, especially rookies, I like to have them earn their spot,” Williams said.

    Hey just cool it John Housman! Isn’t that quote a bit extreme given the fact that last year we were pulling homeless guys off the street to play secondary! If you want to keep your sanity, better keep those high expectations in check!

    Seriously, players aside, you gotta wonder whether this coaching staff has what it takes..I sure hope they’re better at coaching than giving interviews..

    GO VIKES..

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  2. Aug 16, 2012: Vikings Blog | Safety First: Competition Continues In Vikings Secondary
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