The Minnesota Vikings placed second-year free safety Harrison Smith, who is easily the Vikings best defensive back and just might be their only above-average DB, on the short-term injured reserve list last month with a turf toe. The Vikings tried to avoid placing Smith on the short-term I.R., but they realized that surgery was the only choice. Smith is eligible to start practicing next week, but he isn’t able to actually be activated until the Vikings face the Philadelphia Eagles next month.
The St. Paul Pioneer-Press’s Chris Tomasson reports that Smith will try to practice next week on Wednesday (when he is first eligible to begin practicing) in an effort to be ready to face the Eagles. That contest doesn’t happen until the 15th of December, but Smith is determined to get an early start on his progress from the injury in order to play by then.
However, the Vikings need to be careful that Smith doesn’t push himself too hard, because their season is honestly a lost cause at this point. Smith is one of their most promising players on either side of the ball, and he’s an extremely important player for them at the safety position. Not only do they have major issues at safety outside of Smith, but their entire secondary is a mess. Turf toes are tricky business, so while they shouldn’t force Smith to miss games that he is 100% ready for, they need to make sure that the 24-year-old Notre Dame product doesn’t push things more than he needs to. He’s definitely determined to get back on the field, but the Vikings season, for all intents and purposes, is over. But if Smith isn’t pushing things, then it’s perfectly fine for him to practice as soon as possible.