Vikings safety Harrison Smith said he was fined $15,000 for the hit on Texans tight end Jordan Akins that got Smith ejected from Minnesota’s win in Houston on Sunday. Smith said he will appeal the fine, partly to receive an explanation from the league about what he could have done differently.
Smith was ejected from the game shortly before halftime for hitting Akins around the Vikings 20-yard line as he caught a pass in the middle of the field. The hit knocked Akins out of the game because of a concussion, and officials ejected Smith for lowering his head to hit a receiver. The fine Smith received Friday, though, was the league’s typical amount for a hit on a defenseless player — not for use of the helmet, which typically draws a $20,000 fine for a first-time offense.
“I’ve been fined worse in a preseason game before without getting ejected, so I’m not sure what the formula is,” he said. “I’ll appeal it and see how they want me to play there or if they don’t want me to play there. I think having some logic behind it would be nice.”
Though Smith’s helmet made contact with Akins’, as the tight end ducked his head, Smith said he was trying to go low to avoid Akins’ helmet and appeared to be trying to hit him with his shoulder.
“Obviously, I wasn’t a fan of it,” he said, before asking a reporter what he thought Smith should have done. “I thought I did kind of what I could while still being an active football player on the defensive side of the ball. To avoid those things, tried to lower the target. Tried to tilt my head out. But that’s just kind of how we’re seeing things go.”
The Vikings hung on to win despite losing the five-time Pro Bowler for the second half, and Smith (whose first ejection came after he made contact with an official as a rookie) said he took care to keep his cool while learning he was being ejected.
“I didn’t [expect it], and I didn’t even really think about it until they were kind of taking a while, and I was like, ‘Oh wow, that’s, like, a possibility now,’ ” he said. “I was just trying not to act crazy or anything. I didn’t want to make it worse than it had already been made. We still had a football game to play. George [Iloka] came in and played great, and we got the win. It’s definitely weird watching games from the locker room, but it’s how it is.”
Kendricks may be ready
Linebacker Eric Kendricks, who missed the Vikings’ first two days of practice this week because of a foot injury, took part in Friday’s practice and was not given a designation on the team’s final injury report of the week, indicating he should be ready for Sunday’s game.
Cornerback Holton Hill was listed as questionable because of a foot injury, while cornerback Kris Boyd is questionable because of a hamstring injury that limited him in practice this week.
Wide receiver and return man K.J. Osborn is out because of a hamstring injury.
‘Always a Catch-22’
The Seahawks’ style of defense, which has allowed them to keep eight defenders near the line of scrimmage while playing a three-deep coverage over the top, has spread around the league as coaches such as Dan Quinn and Gus Bradley have taken the successful scheme with them as they’ve left for other jobs.
But with young corners and a drop in holding penalties giving quarterbacks more time to sit in the pocket, the Seahawks more often keep a second safety back in coverage to take away deep throws much like the Vikings do.
“These receivers are so good, they put so much stress on the corners,” Coach Mike Zimmer said. “For instance, Russell Wilson, we’re going to have to cover guys for a long time with his scrambling ability and if teams max [protect] and start holding the balls until receivers get open. And there’s always a Catch-22.
“Everybody would love to be in a single-high defense to stop the run and lock those guys down on the outside, but I think it’s happening less and less the way it is. I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of young corners starting and playing in the league, and I guess they just need some help once in a while.”