Vikings safety Harrison Smith's father taught him how to ride dirt bikes when he was 5 or 6 years old, the All-Pro NFL defender figures, so he's long been drawn to the "fearless" daredevils soaring through the air.
Before he reported for training camp this week, Smith came to U.S. Bank Stadium on Saturday night to both watch the X Games and hand over a No. 22 jersey to a friend. Smith then cheered on Australian rider Jackson Strong as he won a fourth gold medal during Moto X Best Trick. Strong landed a front flip in which part of it was no-handed.
"Not trying to say we're best friends, but I think we're two guys who kind of respect what each other does in our respective sports," Smith said. "I just love Jacko's mind-set. I don't know if he's fearless or not, but he acts fearless."
Smith met Jackson at an X Games kickoff event last year. Strong showed his support for Smith and the crowd, waving a Vikings flag after his silver medal-winning run in 2017. This year, Strong donned a helmet with Vikings horns and a Norseman logo on the back.
Smith, 29, said he will probably find himself on a dirt bike again — after his last NFL contract expires.
"I've gotten away from it with football because they're obviously very conflicting and one of them takes priority," Smith said. "But I still have a great respect for it and love watching it."
Alex Sorgente needed just the first of his three runs — albeit a very technically sound performance — to win his second X Games gold medal in Men's Skateboard Park. The back-to-back gold medalist cruised through the lake-themed park course, tapping a nose grind off the dock before wowing the crowd with a half-cab 50-50 grind on another railing.
Sorgente, a 20-year-old Florida native, hadn't medaled in five X Games before his run of success here.
Saturday's festivities ended with the MegaRamp and a Skateboard Big Air contest that eventually did not disappoint. X Games veteran Mitchie Brusco walked away with his first gold, landing a 1080 he had been attempting on his first three runs. Brusco's fourth try did the trick and edged out Clay Kreiner (silver) and Trey Wood (bronze).
A flurry of spins ended the night. The entire podium — Brusco, Kreiner and Wood — threw down scores in the 90s on their fourth or fifth runs out of five attempts each. Kreiner's Indy 720 into an alley-oop varial 540 gave him his first X Games silver medal.
• Midnight crews had about 7½ hours overnight to level five massive dirt ramps and ready hydro barriers to build the Harley Flat Track Racing circuit inside U.S. Bank Stadium. The race moved to Sunday morning in downtown Minneapolis after debuting at the Mall of America last year. Decibel levels are expected to peak with the "Hooligan Racing" starting at 10:30 a.m.
• Skateboarder Elliot Sloan is a metal musician and music producer in his spare time. He flew down the MegaRamp in Skateboard Big Air on Saturday night, and on Sunday night he will open for Zedd, a German DJ, in the closing concert at the Armory. "That's going to be the fun part once everything is over," Sloan said.