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Breaking news and year-round coverage of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings. Access Vikings is the Star Tribune's blog covering team news, rumors, games and all things purple.

Access Vikings morning walkthrough: Vikings fine with lack of takeaways, Smith sits out practice and more

Every weekday, we walk you through what’s going on with the Vikings.


— The Vikings are 7-3 with a defense that ranks ninth in the NFL overall, fifth in third-down conversions and third in scoring. But when it comes to takeaways, only four teams have fewer than their modest total of 11.

— Harrison Smith was held out of practice on Wednesday. But the standout safety downplayed concerns about the severity of his knee injury.

This week’s five Vikings stats that stand out include a look at how Mike Wallace has been the NFL’s least efficient wideout the past four weeks.

— Teddy Bridgewater is confident he will connect with Wallace soon.


— Falcons starting running back Devonta Freeman remains in the league’s concussion protocol program and did not practice on Wednesday.

— Because Freeman is reeling, the Falcons may utilize rookie backs Tevin Coleman and Terron Ward more this weekend against the Vikings.

— Star wide receiver Julio Jones said the Falcons, who have lost four out of their last five games, can lean on him to get through this rough patch.


The Vikings will practice in the morning before players are dismissed to go feast on some turkey. There is no media access, which I’m thankful for.


Smith might be as close to irreplaceable as any Vikings defender. He is one of the NFL’s premier safeties and he plays a valuable role in coach Mike Zimmer’s blitz packages. No NFL safety has created more pressure this season as a blitzer than Smith, who has recorded one sack, a league-high five hits and 10 total pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.

Smith downplays concerns about his knee, but does not practice

Harrison Smith is not practicing today after cornerback Terence Newman hit him in the left knee during the first quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Packers. But he downplayed concerns about the severity of his injury.

“At this point in the year, everyone is banged up so I’m just trying to get ready for Sunday,” the safety said a couple of hours before practice.

Smith was injured on a fluky play. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tried to make a quick spinning pass to wide receiver James Jones. But the ball slipped out of his hand and bounced toward Newman. Newman lunged for the ball in case it was a fumble and collided with Smith’s extended leg.

“Stuff happens. It’s part of the game,” Smith said.

Smith only sat out five snaps before returning to and finishing the game. He admitted he was initially concerned the injury could be significant.

Smith walked gingerly in the locker room. He said he felt worse on Monday.

“Even when you don’t get hurt, it’s worse on Mondays,” the 26-year-old safety said. “But winning helps, so we need to get back to that.”

Defensive end Everson Griffen (shoulder and hip) also sat out today’s practice. Safety Robert Blanton (ankle), defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (ankle) and left tackle Matt Kalil (toe) were limited.

12:00 PM, 11/29 (FOX)
Minnesota 7-3
Atlanta 6-4

Today's Scoreboard

  • Philadelphia



    - 2nd, 3:32



  • Carolina


    3:30 PM


  • Chicago

    Green Bay

    7:30 PM


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