Rookie safety Harrison Smith was one of two first round selections made by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2012 NFL draft. He was a four year starter at Notre Dame and is looking to make an immediate impact in a very weak Vikings' secondary.
Smith is a big safety as he is six foot two inches and 213 lbs. However, he is a smart and athletic safety as well and will be vying for one of the starting safety positions. He is very strong as a zone safety and that is what the Vikings will be looking to use him as.
In college, he started all four years as a defensive back recording seven interceptions, shockingly all in 2010, and 186 solo tackles in his career. Smith's stats really are not flashy, but sometimes the best defensive backs' stats are not very flashy. If a defensive back is doing his job, he is keeping the ball from coming into his zone.
So who is competing with Smith for in the free safety position? As of right now, Smith is listed as the back up to Jamarca Sanford. Sanford was the starting free safety for the Vikings in 15 games last year when the Vikings pass defense was ranked 26th in total passing yards and dead last in total passing touchdowns allowed. Yes, for now Sanford is the starter, but that could very well be shaken up throughout the preseason.
It's hard to judge in the preseason so far who is the better performer as Sanford has two tackles and Smith has one tackle. It is very possible that the Vikings will just stick with Sanford for the beginning of the season. But, if he slips up, it is quite probable that the Vikings will move Smith up in the depth chart, just like they traded up to get him late in the first round.
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