Found August 13, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
MANKATO, Minn. The Minnesota Vikings have made it clear that first-round draft pick Harrison Smith needs to earn a starting spot at safety. After two weeks of practice and one preseason game, the rookie from Notre Dame might be doing just that. Smith, who Minnesota traded back in the first round to draft at No. 29 overall, started training camp behind Mistral Raymond and Jamarca Sanford at safety. Raymond and Sanford were the starting safeties at the end of last season and Smith wasn't going to be simply given a starting spot, despite being drafted to finally give the Vikings an all-around playmaker at the position. But Smith started receiving some work with the first-team defense in practice last week and showed a physical edge to his play. In limited time in Friday's game, Smith made a heady play on a reverse, staying his ground and stopping the play for a loss. While Raymond and Sanford remained the starting safeties in practice Monday, coach Leslie Frazier indicated Sunday that Smith could be starting shortly, possibly as soon as Friday's second preseason game when Minnesota hosts the Buffalo Bills. "One of the things when we went back to look at the tape, and we felt this way going in, Harrison was really making a push," Frazier said. "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 Friday, he's did some good things when he was in there Friday night." Smith didn't play extensively in the first preseason game. Meanwhile, Raymond and Sanford both struggled at times, specifically in run support as the Vikings' defense struggled as a whole against the run, giving up 260 rushing yards to the San Francisco 49ers. Sanford was caught out of position at times, including on San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick's 78-yard touchdown run. Raymond missed a chance to stop 49ers running back Brandon Jacobs on a play for a minimal gain, but took a bad angle at the big back, who went for 23 yards on the play. "You've got to keep putting him in situations and giving him a chance to make plays,' Frazier said of the second-year safety, Raymond. "He's going to get opportunities like all our guys that are fighting for jobs. You don't want to make a declaration at this point that he can't do it. We've got some more opportunities ahead. So he'll get more opportunities and so will the other guys to make those plays." But with Smith starting to show he is ready for a starting spot, the opportunities become increasingly important for Raymond and Sanford. Smith said he appreciates any repetitions in practice as he adapts to the NFL and was happy to get some first-team work last week after teaming with veteran special teams ace Eric Frampton as safeties on the second unit for much of training camp. Smith was drafted with the belief he'd be a starter, but he understood the coaches making him earn a starting spot. "To me that's how anything should be," Smith said last week. "There's no reason just to give something to somebody without them earning it. That's the way football should be in my opinion." Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Guion's development slowed by knee injury

MANKATO, Minn. The Minnesota Vikings felt confident enough in defensive tackle Letroy Guion's development that they re-signed the 2008 fifth-round pick and have given him all the first-team snaps at the nose tackle position beside Kevin Williams. Minnesota is hoping he can fill the void still remaining from when they decided to not re-sign Pat Williams after the 2010 season...

Vikings' Peterson taken off PUP list

MANKATO, Minn. The Minnesota Vikings have taken the reins off of franchise running back Adrian Peterson, but coach Leslie Frazier was exercising caution with his star back. Peterson, recovering from December knee surgery, was activated off the physically unable to perform list and was back practicing with Minnesota's first-team offense in walk-through Sunday at training camp...

Frazier to defense: Be careful with Peterson

MANKATO, Minn. Adrian Peterson will don pads again Tuesday afternoon for the first time since tearing two ligaments in his left knee during a December game, and Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier made it known to the team's defense to be cautious with the star running back. Frazier met with the defense and said to take things easy on Peterson as he returns to padded practices...

Daily Haze: Adrian Peterson, First Round Pick Again

If you needed more proof that Adrian Peterson isn’t mortal, you’re getting it this week. Less than eight months removed from tearing his ACL on Christmas Eve, which ended his 2011 season, Peterson has been removed from the Vikings’ Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. He’s due to resume practice at training camp and contact work this week. It’s an amazing recovery...

Adrian Peterson Off the Physically Unable to Perform List

Minnesota Vikings' running back, Adrian Peterson, was removed from the physically unable to perform list on Sunday and is now allowed to join his teammates for practice.  The Vikings are hoping that he will be healthy enough to actively help their offense that was stymied for only six points in Friday's game by the San Francisco 49ers. Peterson, who rushed for 970 yards...

Minnesota Vikings Potential Breakout Player of 2012: Erin Henderson

The great thing about the NFL is that there are so many positions that every year, there is almost always at least one player who has a breakout year on every team, no matter how good or bad the team is. This is the part in a 32 part segment detailing one potential breakout player for the 2012 NFL season on each NFL team. For the Minnesota Vikings, that player is outside linebacker...

VIDEO: Adrian Peterson practicing without a knee brace

AP Photo When a player typically comes back from undergoing a major surgery to repair an ACL tear, they’ll wear a knee brace for extra support.  Well it looks like Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has decided to go against the grain and not wear one. As promised, Adrian Peterson isn’t wearing a brace on his reconstructed knee. #Vikingsyfrog.us/ndcqilrclmavys… — Tom Pelissero...

Adrian Peterson Could Be Activated From PUP List Sunday

Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier acknowledged that activating running back Adrian Peterson from the PUP list is a possibility.Fantasy Spin:He could be activated as early as Sunday, which would allow the four-time Pro Bowler to participate in the rest of Minnesota's preseason slate. Either way, he should be a go for Week 1, which will hinder Toby Gerhart's fantasy value heading...

Vikings prepping for Peterson’s padded debut

The Vikings are preparing for Adrian Peterson’s first practice in full pads since December, but they will take it slow with their star running back.

Notebook: Webb still working on transition

Joe Webb and Bill Musgrave talked about Webb’s rough preseason opener and his focus going forward. Plus, notes from Tuesday afternoon’s full-pads session.

Childress Feeling Comfortable in Brown

When former Minnesota Vikings Head Coach (and former Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Coordinator) Brad Childress signed on as offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, he didn’t just find a new job, he apparently found his signature color…brown. Childress was photographed at … Continue reading →
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.