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.


Smith heading to IR with chance to return in eight weeks

Posted by: Mark Craig under NFC Updated: October 18, 2013 - 9:55 AM

Like all NFL teams, the Vikings are allowed to put one player on injured reserve with the designation of him being able to return in eight weeks. Free safety Harrison Smith, as expected, was deemed worthy of that designation and will be placed there today, Chip Scoggins has confirmed.

Smith, who has started every game since he was drafted 29th overall a year ago, suffered a turf toe injury in the fourth quarter of last Sunday's loss to Carolina. Coach Leslie Frazier said Thursday that Smith and the team were still deciding whether surgery or rest was necessary. Either way, the earliest Smith can play a game is the Dec. 15 contest against the Eagles at home. He can, however, return to practice after six weeks, per the rule for players who are designated for return in eight weeks.

Smith is third on the team in tackles (41) and tied for first in interceptions (two). He has five interceptions and two returns for touchdowns in just 21 regular season games. He will be replaced in the starting lineup by Andrew Sendejo, a former UFL standout who went undrafted in 2010 and then latched on with the Vikings as a special teamer/backup late in the 2011 season. This will be Sendejo's second NFL start. The first came two games ago when he replaced an injured Jamarca Sanford.

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