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.”

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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 25 2nd Qtr 4:40
Philadelphia 42
Portland 37 2nd Qtr 3:44
Cleveland 46
Sacramento 13 1st Qtr 4:00
Toronto 15
Boston 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Dallas 7:00 PM
Houston
Denver 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Brooklyn 7:00 PM
Atlanta
Oklahoma City 7:00 PM
New York
Charlotte 7:30 PM
San Antonio
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
Utah
Washington 9:30 PM
Phoenix
Toronto 0 1st Prd 12:22
New Jersey 0
Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
Washington
Chicago 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Temple 37 2nd Half
UCF 18
Winthrop 35 2nd Half
Coastal Carolina 34
Lafayette 25 2nd Half
Colgate 32
Northeastern 29 2nd Half
Drexel 19
Wake Forest 33 2nd Half
Florida State 27
Rhode Island 26 1st Half 1:41
Fordham 31
Delaware 34 2nd Half
James Madison 40
South Carolina 28 2nd Half
LSU 29
New Hampshire 23 2nd Half
Maine 20
Seton Hall 32 2nd Half
Marquette 28
Binghamton 30 2nd Half
UMBC 24
American Univ 34 2nd Half
Navy 37
Elon 23 2nd Half
UNC-Wilmington 47
Wright State 33 2nd Half
Oakland 28
Minnesota 23 2nd Half
Penn State 33
Duquesne 27 2nd Half
Richmond 49
SMU 32 2nd Half
South Florida 25
Hartford 28 2nd Half
Stony Brook 25
Albany 25 2nd Half
Vermont 17
Hofstra 34 2nd Half
William & Mary 54
UNC-Asheville 37 2nd Half
Longwood 31
Radford 24 1st Half 10:30
Char Southern 14
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 18 1st Half 9:10
Notre Dame 25
Texas Tech 7 1st Half 9:46
Oklahoma 15
Oregon State 7:00 PM
Arizona State
Morehead State 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Drake 7:00 PM
Bradley
Lehigh 7:00 PM
Bucknell
Rice 7:00 PM
Houston
Missouri State 7:00 PM
Illinois State
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Wichita State
Nebraska Omaha 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
Northern Iowa 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
Louisville 8:00 PM
Boston College
St Johns 8:00 PM
Creighton
East Carolina 8:00 PM
Memphis
Georgia Tech 8:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Miss State 8:00 PM
Ole Miss
Clemson 8:00 PM
NC State
Indiana 8:00 PM
Purdue
Kansas 8:00 PM
TCU
Oregon 9:00 PM
Arizona
Air Force 9:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 10:00 PM
Washington
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 32 2nd Half
Binghamton 31
Akron 23 2nd Half
Ohio U 32
Ball State 44 2nd Half
Miami-Ohio 17
Memphis 25 2nd Half
Cincinnati 22
East Carolina 18 1st Half 0:12
(2) Connecticut 47
Murray State 31 2nd Half
Eastern Illinois 33
Kent State 26 2nd Half
Central Michigan 35
UT Martin 40 2nd Half
Tennessee St 30
Eastern Michigan 33 2nd Half
Western Mich 42
Bucknell 32 2nd Half
Lehigh 32
Indiana 25 2nd Half
Michigan State 39
Colgate 42 2nd Half
Lafayette 19
Fordham 32 2nd Half
Davidson 32
Duquesne 32 2nd Half
St Bonaventure 24
George Mason 28 2nd Half
VA Commonwealth 34
Detroit 19 2nd Half
Youngstown St 35
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
SMU 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Oklahoma St 7:00 PM
Kansas State
West Virginia 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Denver 7:00 PM
South Dakota
Northwestern St 7:00 PM
Central Arkansas
Austin Peay 7:00 PM
SIU-Edwardsville
Kansas 7:00 PM
Iowa State
Bowling Green 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Penn State 7:00 PM
Minnesota
San Jose St 8:00 PM
Air Force
Boise State 8:00 PM
Colorado State
Utah State 8:00 PM
Wyoming
San Diego State 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Nevada 9:00 PM
UNLV

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