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Lunch Break, 10/9: Smith Likely To Play Sunday

Safety Harrison Smith, arguably the most complete player on the Vikings roster, proves to be a quick healer. Smith, who suffered an ankle injury during last Thursday's game at Green Bay, did not participate during Wednesday's practice but was seen running and cutting sans limp.

Mark Craig of the Star Tribune writes about how Smith's injury has improved since last Thursday's contest:

Vikings free safety Harrison Smith has come a long way since he was spotted on crutches and wearing a protective boot to cover his sprained left ankle last Friday.

The crutches and boot were gone Wednesday. And while Smith was held out of practice, he was seen running without favoring the ankle while working out off to the side with injured linebacker Chad Greenway and head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman during the portion of practice that was open to the media.

"He did a lot [Wednesday]," coach Mike Zimmer said. "So I expect that he's probably going to play [against the Detroit Lions on Sunday]."

That's good news for a team that hasn't had much of that in recent weeks. Smith is tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with three and leads the team in passes defensed (six). He also is second on the team in tackles with 41, eight fewer than rookie linebacker Anthony Barr.* *

"The thing I like the most about Harrison is he's a good competitor — he's got a lot of toughness in him, a lot of grit," Zimmer said. "He's a quiet leader kind of. He's not really a big vocal kind of guy, but I think that's part of him feeling out the new system and everything else. I assume that he'll be more and more as we continue to go."

Regardless of whether wide receiver Calvin Johnson suits up Sunday for the Lions, Smith's availability is a huge boost for the Vikings defense.

Quick Hitters

  • From Derek Wetmore of 1500 ESPN – Zimmer issues high praise for top pick Anthony Barr.
  • Vikings' Teddy Bridgewater takes long-term approach to his career via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press.
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