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Continued: Smith eager to return to Vikings lineup at safety

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 12, 2013 - 1:00 AM

“I’ve tried to work on my conditioning since I’ve been off, but there’s nothing quite like when the lights come on, especially with this offense,” he said. “They’re faster than most. Just see how it goes because you can’t simulate it.”

Sendejo emerges

The silver lining in Smith’s injury has been the development of Sendejo in his absence. Primarily a special-teams player previously, Sendejo has posted double digits in tackles in four of the eight games he’s started in place of Smith.

Sendejo grabbed his first interception Sunday against Baltimore and would have had a second pick if not for a questionable pass interference penalty on linebacker Chad Greenway.

“He’s done an awesome job,” Smith said. “He hasn’t skipped a beat.”

Sendejo is third on the team in tackles (93) and has performed well enough that he could share playing time with Sanford if Smith resumes his normal workload in the final few games.

“You’ve got to take advantage of any chances that you get,” Sendejo said.

Smith’s return is a positive sign that should bolster a secondary that has taken its lumps this season. The Vikings are playing out the string these final three games after being officially eliminated from postseason contention Sunday.

But anything is better than nothing to Smith.

“I’ve been kind of in a gray area for a while,” he said. “I’m excited to get back out on the field.”



 

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