Smith avoids fine, suspension after altercation

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Vikings free safety Harrison Smith stopped Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck from picking up a first down Sunday.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

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Harrison Smith won't be fined or suspended for his second-quarter shove of back judge Steve Freeman on Sunday.

The Vikings safety was ejected from Sunday's 30-7 blowout of Tennessee early in the second quarter when Freeman attempted to separate him from a post-play skirmish following an interception by Antoine Winfield. Freeman walked Smith away from the chaos. And in an effort to get away from the official, Smith delivered a shove. He was assessed a 15-yard personal foul penalty and was disqualified from the game.

Smith missed more than two-thirds of Sunday's game, something the league weighed.

"We don't condone his behavior whatsoever," coach Leslie Frazier said Monday. "We have to do a better job in moments when that occurs of being able to walk away from the situation and not cost our team a penalty or a potential dismissal from the game."

Robert Blanton, like Smith a rookie from Notre Dame, filled in alongside Jamarca Sanford, who himself is subbing in for the injured Mistral Raymond.

"Everybody been waiting on it to see Blanch get in," Sanford said. "He plays with energy, enthusiasm. He's an exciting guy. It was good to see a young guy step in and play like he played yesterday."

Childs says he's on the road back

Rookie receiver Greg Childs, who tore the patellar tendon in both knees during a scrimmage early in training camp, vowed to beat the odds and return to football.

"Next season," he said, when asked about his long-term prognosis after surgery to repair both knees. "I'll be back on the field next season. I'll be out there running around, doing my thing, making plays."

Childs said he's been walking for a while without the help of a brace, and has been working daily on rehab.

Finally a sack for Robison

Brian Robison was happy to finally get his first sack of the season Sunday. The defensive end got it on the first offensive series of the game, after the Titans moved from their 20 to a third-and-3 at the Vikings 39. Robison sacked Matt Hasselbeck for an 8-yard loss, prompting a punt.

"It took five games," Robison said. "They say sacks come in bunches, so I am hoping that is the beginning of a bunch. I've been working hard to get there, rushing my butt off, doing all the things the defense is calling. For it finally to have happened feels good."

Corner change?

Frazier isn't ready to declare rookie cornerback Josh Robinson the full-time starter ahead of veteran Antoine Winfield.

The Vikings started Robinson in the base defense on Sunday as a way of helping preserve Winfield's 35-year-old legs throughout the season. Winfield still played in the nickel and in some base situations throughout the game.

Asked if Robinson will now be the starter in the base, Frazier said: "I don't know that eventually will be the case in 2012. We know at some point, we're hoping at some point Josh develops to where he can be our starting corner. That's why we drafted him [in the third round]. When that transformation occurs, we're not sure."

Etc.

• The mild ankle sprain that running back Adrian Peterson suffered was tender Monday, but Frazier said, "We don't think there's anything that will keep him from playing in this next ballgame. He should be fine going forward."

• Linebacker Marvin Mitchell, who strained his calf in practice Thursday, is expected to return to practice on Wednesday. Safety Andrew Sendejo, who missed another game Sunday because of an ankle sprain, is expected to return to practice as well.

• Frazier said rookie tight end Rhett Ellison hasn't evolved to the point where he's going to take any reps from the team's top two tight ends, Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson. Ellison had his first two NFL catches, including a 29-yarder, on Sunday.

Staff writer Dan Wiederer contributed to this report.

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