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A Closer Look: Notre Dame S Harrison Smith

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 12, 2012 – 6:47 am

We are two weeks away from the start of the 2012 NFL Draft, with the 1st round scheduled to begin on the evening of Thursday, April 26. Over the past few days, though, my inbox has been filled with questions about a player who likely won’t be selected until the 2nd round, which will occur on the evening of Friday, April 27.

That player is Notre Dame S Harrison Smith. Obviously the secondary is an area of need for the Vikings, so the fan base’s interest in Smith is not surprising. But the buzz has been building around Smith, and from all the information I’ve gathered it’s clear that he’s a player rising up draft boards as we get closer and closer to showtime.

For those of you not familiar with Smith, he’s a 6-2, 214-pound safety who also played some linebacker at Notre Dame. He was a 5th-year senior and team captain in 2011 and he’s also the only player in Irish football history to register more than 200 tackles, 15.0 tackles for loss and 15 pass breakups in a career.

During this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, we had Vikings preseason TV analyst and NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock on the Wobcast. Smith came up in our discussion with Mayock, and Mayock has an interesting perspective on Smith because he’s been the TV analyst for Notre Dame on NBC the past two seasons. On top of that, Mayock played safety in the NFL, so you know he has a discerning eye for the position.

Here’s what Mayock had to say about how Smith projects to the NFL…

“Harrison Smith from Notre Dame is a better safety than people think,” Mayock said. “What Harrison Smith does, is he’s a better athlete than people think, he’s a 215-pound safety, he can play strong and free, he’s more athletic than people give him credit for, he will line everybody up because he’s one of the smarter kids out there, and he’s an excellent tackler. I think he’s going in the second round. So if you’re talking about a second-round safety, there’s a big drop off at the safety position after Harrison Smith.”

It’s a great evaluation of Smith, and it makes you wonder if Smith wouldn’t be a great option for the Vikings in the 2nd round with the 35th overall selection. From the sounds of it, Smith would be an impact player for the Vikings immediately because he’d probably have one of the starting safety spots and I’m also told he’d be a standout player on special teams because of his instincts and outstanding tackling ability.

What do you think, fans? Would you be happy with Smith as the Vikings choice in the 2nd round to fill a team need in the secondary? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below this entry.


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Don’t Miss NFL.com’s “Anatomy of a Play”

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 17, 2009 – 11:30 am

In case you didn’t notice it on the vikings.com home page, you’ve got to check out a feature on NFL.com called “Anatomy of a Play.”

The feature is hosted by NFL Network and Vikings preseason TV analyst Mike Mayock and features interesting insight from him, Vikings RBs coach Eric Bieniemy, QB Brett Favre and Adrian, among others.

The feature does an excellent job of breaking the play down from an Xs and Os standpoint, but it also shows multiple angles of the play and allows you to hear audio from the players themselves as they talk about the play on the sidelines.


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Favre Chats With vikings.com

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 20, 2009 – 2:17 pm

Vikings QB Brett Favre took a few moments out of his busy day on Thursday to chat with vikings.com. We’ll have the full interview with him posted later today on the home page.

The Vikings had a walk-through practice earlier today in preparation for tomorrow’s preseason contest against the Kansas City Chiefs. Speaking of tomorrow night’s game, we’ll be doing a live chat right here on vikings.com during the game, so be sure to log on and chat it up with us and fellow Vikings fans.

Tomorrow’s game will begin at 7:00 and will be broadcast by KSTP, with Ari Wolfe calling the play-by-play and Mike Mayock handling the analysis.


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The National Guys Are Nice

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 7, 2009 – 6:46 pm

Over the past couple of days several prominent national media personalities who cover the NFL have swung through Vikings training camp in Mankato. It’s always a goal of ours at vikings.com to try and speak with those guys because they have lots of credibility with the fans.

Recently, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock took a few moments to chat with us. He’s been a great friend of vikings.com and he’s done a terrific job not only on NFL Network, but also as a broadcaster for Vikings preseason games. Later in the week, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Sports Illustrated’s Peter King also made appearances at Vikings training camp.

When national reporters such as King and Mortensen visit a team’s training camp, they are usually pretty busy. Their goal is to talk to as many important people as possible to get a feel for that team’s camp, and then quickly move on to the next team’s camp. In the midst of their busy schedules, both King and Mortensen graciously took a few moments to answer a few question for vikings.com. Click here to see what King had to say and click here to see what Mortensen had to say.

Although they have the notoriety and persona that would cause many people to act not so nice to team website guys like us, they were actually quite the opposite. The national guys were nice. So thanks, Peter King and Chris Mortensen!


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Going Live On Day 4

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 3, 2009 – 12:33 pm

The Vikings were in full pads for Monday morning’s practice and the action heated up as the 11-on-11 action was live. After a long offseason of no contact and 3 days of camp with light contact, it was fun to see the guys out there going full speed and full contact.

As you would guess, the intensity usually picks up when the action is live, and today was no different. The Vikings coaching staff had the players working on short yardage, goal line and “move the ball” situations. I didn’t see it, but I’m told E.J. Henderson had the hit of the day when he popped RB Chester Taylor on an outside run play.

A few other highlights from this morning included an impressive and athletic diving interception by CB Marcus McCauley. A couple of other young defenders teamed up to make a nice play when LB David Herron tipped a pass and CB Asher Allen was able to get underneath it and intercept the pass. Two plays later, it looked as if S Husain Abdullah was set to pick off a pass, but TE Visanthe Shiancoe made an incredible leaping catch while completely outstretched down the right seam.

On the majority of snaps today, I would say the defense played a little bit better. But that’s very typical for this time during camp. As E.J. Henderson told me yesterday, the offense has a little more to go over during camp. It’s still good to see the defense playing well, though. They are in great hands with defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier.

From an offensive perspective, it’s a little weird to see just 2 QBs out there taking all the reps. They’re doing a good job, and the extra reps are helpful to both Sage Rosenfels, who is learning this offense, and John David Booty, who is still in the early stages of his development but is looking a lot better. I hope Tarvaris Jackson makes it back soon.

It’s only Day 4, so the depth chart situation is still fluid. Coaches are running guys in and out, mixing up combinations and still trying to determine who should be on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd teams. At this point, it’s not really worth commenting on who is running with each unit.

It was a busy morning at camp. Aside from the exciting on-field action, there was also plenty going on around the fields. Vikings preseason analyst and NFL Network personality Mike Mayock was in town (he arrived last night), as an NFL Network film crew followed him around practice. Mike is a great friend of vikings.com and is also a great football mind. You’ll see and hear more from him as camp and the preseason go on. His Vikings play-by-play partner, Ari Wolfe, was also at camp today.

Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf and VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman were schedule to speak to the Southeast MN Chamber of Commerce after practice today. Also, today was Vikings Season Ticket Owner Day.

The Vikings will practice again this afternoon at 3:00. We’ll have more updates throughout the day.


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