When I stopped to chat with safety Harrison Smith in the hallway of Sanford Hospital in Thief River Falls, where Smith was one of five Vikings players who visited the hospital as part of the team’s Arctic Blast event, I couldn’t help but notice the bulky bandage wrapped around his left hand and the splint keeping the ring and pinky fingers on his left hand locked in place.
“Just a little fix-up from the season,” Smith, one of the league’s top safeties, explained.
After the season, Smith had surgery on his hand, specifically those two fingers. He downplayed the injury, though, and it isn’t expected to prevent him from participating in the offseason program.
“It was minor surgery,” he said. “Nothing major, so this will be off in a couple of days.”
Smith has been taking it easy since the end of the season. He was in Arizona for the Super Bowl pregame festivities, but flew back to the Twin Cities the morning of the game. He will start training again soon in preparation for offseason workouts, which are a couple of months away.
“They tell us to relax and let our bodies and minds heal,” he said. “But it’s kind of hard to stay away from the gym, so I try to at least get on a bicycle or run or do something to stay in decent shape.”
I also asked Smith about another important part of his offseason. Now that he has completed three seasons on his rookie deal, he is eligible for a contract extension. The Vikings have recently made a point to reward their young, standout players, and Smith, a Pro Bowl snub, certainly qualifies. Smith said he wants to stick around long-term, but he’s leaving all that up to his agent, Brian Murphy.
“That’s all I’ve thought of doing,” Smith said. “I have no intentions of going anywhere else. I’ll just let [my agency] handle it. I’m just here to play football and we’ll see what happens.”