Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Harrison Smith: Serious looking injury was only cramping

Posted by: under Vikings, Packers Updated: January 8, 2013 - 8:56 AM

Just a little more than 3 minutes remained in the third quarter Saturday night at Lambeau Field when Vikings safety Harrison Smith delivered a tackle on Packers running back DuJuan Harris and immediately began writhing in agony. The Vikings already trailed 24-3 in their one-sided first-round playoff loss. And the last thing they needed was to see one of their key starters lost to a serious injury.

Not to worry: Smith was only cramping.

While his pain seemed to be severe – so much so that concerned Packers players immediately began calling for the Vikings medical staff to come over – Smith just needed the cramp in his left leg to be worked out.

“I just couldn’t really feel anything going on,” Smith said.

Vikings athletic trainer Eric Sugarman assisted with the injury on a table behind the bench. And Smith returned to action not long after, unaware initially at how much worry he had caused coaches, teammates and an already frustrated fan base.

“I watched the tape,” Smith said. “And I could see that I kind of squirmed a little bit. I didn’t know that I really did that. Our coaches were like, ‘Don’t do that anymore.’”

Smith’s emergence this season was one of the most significant bright spots for a Vikings team that improved from 3-13 to 10-6. The rookie was a playmaker all season and had two interception returns for touchdowns. On Monday, as he cleaned out his locker to head into the offseason, Smith was asked whether he ever ran into the proverbial “rookie wall.”

“I think I kind of kept thinking that I have got to get through the regular season,” Smith said. “I’ve got to make sure my body’s all right, that I can last. That was hard. And then the playoffs come around. And it’s like, ‘Wow, we have another possible however many games.’ So staying on top of your body and getting back and staying on top of your mind, mentally energizing every week is a lot harder to do than you think it would be.”

As for Smith’s thoughts on what propelled the Vikings to such a remarkable turnaround, the rookie noted the close team bond as a major catalyst.

“Every guy on this team is a guy you want to play with and guys you have fun playing with and can count on. That’s the thing that stood out to me. I mean, this is my first time around. But it seems like with the guys we have here and the leadership we have with the coaches and the front office that things are headed in the right direction.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - LP: J. Broxton 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson 2
Minnesota - LP: T. May 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 9
NY Yankees - WP: C. Capuano 6 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 3
Philadelphia - LP: J. Diekman 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 4
Boston - WP: A. Ranaudo 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: C. Archer 4
Miami - LP: C. Hatcher 2 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: D. Carpenter 5
Cleveland 6 Top 9th Inning
Kansas City 0
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 7 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: S. Carroll 1
Texas - WP: S. Baker 13 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: N. Ramirez 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: P. Neshek 2
Colorado 1 Top 8th Inning
Arizona 1
Oakland 0 Top 6th Inning
LA Angels 2
Los Angeles 1 Top 6th Inning
San Diego 2
Washington 5 Top 6th Inning
Seattle 2
Milwaukee 1 Bottom 4th Inning
San Francisco 6
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 24 4th Qtr 12:14
Houston 0
Colorado State 28 4th Qtr 8:18
Colorado 17
UNLV 3 2nd Qtr 6:44
Arizona 14
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Houston 3 FINAL
Sporting Kansas City 1
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 69 4th Qtr 2:25
Phoenix 81

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT