Will the Vikings be without Harrison Smith in Week 5?
By Adam Patrick
The officials made the wrong call to eject the Minnesota Vikings safety on Sunday.
Prior to Sunday’s matchup with the Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith had a grand total of one personal foul penalty called on him since 2015. Smith has become known for delivering big hits in his career, but he does it in a legal manner.
So when the game officials decided to eject the Vikings safety near the end of the second quarter on Sunday for a helmet-to-helmet hit that was clearly unintentional, the Minnesota sidelined became enraged and they had every right to be.
When watching the replay of the hit, Smith was clearly leading with his shoulder and the only reason his helmet made contact with Texans tight end Jordan Akins was because Akins lowered his head after catching the football.
What the ejection means for the Minnesota Vikings safety moving forward
Since entering the NFL in 2012, Smith has never missed a game for the Vikings due to suspension. So it would be incredibly shocking if the league decided to suspend the safety for Minnesota’s Week 5 game against the Seattle Seahawks.
This isn’t to say it couldn’t happen. But since Smith isn’t what the NFL views as a “repeat offender”, a suspension would seem to be a little over the top for an incident that most would view as unintentional.
The Vikings safety not being known for delivering reckless hits is also why Mike Zimmer was irate after Smith was ejected on Sunday.
Anyone who has ever watched the veteran safety play a down of football knows that he plays the game the correct way and him intentionally trying to deliver a helmet-to-helmet blow to Akins just isn’t something that he would ever do.
Following Smith’s ejection on Sunday, Minnesota’s defense was not the same during the second half. George Iloka replaced him out on the field and his inexperience in the defense resulted in the Vikings giving up two easy touchdowns to Houston due to blown coverage.
This is something that absolutely cannot happen for Minnesota when they take on Russell Wilson and the Seahawks next week. A win for the Vikings in Seattle was already going to be difficult. But if Smith has to sit out due to a suspension, Minnesota’s chances to beat the Seahawks will become even smaller.