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The Plan Behind Harrison Smith

Posted Oct 18, 2013

The Vikings are preparing to face a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback in Eli Manning on Monday night, and Manning is eager to get his team’s passing game off the ground after a slow start to the season. Making matters a bit more difficult for the Vikings this week is the fact that they will face Manning and Co. without a top member of the secondary – safety Harrison Smith.

Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier confirmed on Thursday that Smith is dealing with a turf toe injury that is more serious than originally thought and one that may require surgery. As of Friday morning, Smith’s timetable for a return and the question of whether he would have surgery weren’t known, but what is known is that Smith will not play on Monday night against the Giants.

So what will the Vikings do in response to Smith’s injury? Here are a few points to consider…

-- On Friday afternoon the Vikings placed Smith on the Reserve/Injured list with the "Designated for Return" tag. Smith is now ineligible to practice until six weeks have passed since Friday, October 18, but he is eligible to go back on the active list eight weeks after Friday, October 18.

-- Frazier said Andrew Sendejo will be the starter this week. Sendejo is in his third season and has played in 21 games with the Vikings. He’s a core special teams member but has shown enough since training camp to earn a starting opportunity behind Smith.

-- With Sendejo and Jamarca Sanford starting, Robert Blanton and Mistral Raymond will be in backup roles. One thing to keep in mind is that losing starters on defense not only impacts the defense but also impacts the special teams group. Often times the players called upon to step up into the starting lineup on defense partially or completely vacate starting roles on special teams, which forces backups into those starting roles, as well.

-- Frazier expressed confidence in all of the aforementioned players while meeting with reporters on Thursday, saying: “Andrew, Mistral, Robert Blanton, those guys will do a good job when they’re in there; Jamarca is going to be out there. They’re all going to do a good job, they worked hard in practice and prepared well and they’ll play well.”