The Vikings like to move around safety Harrison Smith, who has shown multidimensional talent, particularly in Head Coach Mike Zimmer's scheme.
Sometimes Smith crowds the line and blitzes from the edge, other times he bluffs. Smith also often lines up in more of a traditional safety spot at the back of the defense in base defense.
The latter task gives him a great view of the rest of the field, and offers him an opportunity to survey quarterbacks' tactics for trying to fool defenders or hide their intentions until it's too late for a safety to help a cornerback.
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports focused in on what Smith has seen from QB Teddy Bridgewater:
*One of the most important is how they use their eyes. The great ones, like Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, know how to influence a safety like Smith with their eyes. They look one way to get him going one way, with the full intention of going to the other side. *
*Why I mention that here is for this reason: Smith has noticed his own quarterback, second-year player Teddy Bridgewater, doing that type of thing this season in camp. That's called necessary growth for any passer, especially for a young guy. *
*"He's taken it a step further this year with his eyes," Smith said. "He looks guys off in the secondary. If there's one of us in the middle, he will move him out and open up the spot. You don't see many guys his age doing that. He's already thinking, looking and finding out where we are and then using his eyes. When he came in last year as a rookie, he was so far along. But this is really taking the next step." *
*The cerebral part, which Smith mentioned, is the critical part. I asked Bridgewater about the importance of moving his eyes. *
"You always try to find ways to get better," Bridgewater said. "Get rid of those tendencies. Guys on defense have one job, and that's to find tendencies. I play a position where there are a ton of tendencies you show. I have been working on my eyes and everything."
Spielman Returning to Roots
The Vikings will open the preseason against the Steelers Sunday at the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. When they take the field, they'll be running on the same plot of land where General Manager Rick Spielman played road games against a high school rival.
Chris Tomasson revisited Spielman's roots on the field and his role as a big brother* *to Chris Spielman during their youth:
*During (Rick) Spielman's senior year at nearby Massillon High School in 1981, the quarterback ran 40 yards on a bootleg for a touchdown against Canton McKinley at what was then known as Fawcett Stadium. Spielman's younger brother and high school teammate, eventual NFL star Chris Spielman, called it "the greatest play Rick ever had." *
*But Spielman's Tigers lost that game 9-6. If you want to hear about his exploits in a Massillon victory over McKinley at Fawcett Stadium, talk to Mike Currence, his former coach at Massillon. *
"In 1980, we lost to McKinley (16-7 at Massillon) and we drew them in the playoffs the next week," Currence said. "We lost our linebacker, and I told (Spielman's) dad Sonny (then a Tigers assistant) that we've got to move Rick to inside linebacker because we didn't have another one. He had been our backup quarterback and hadn't practiced (at linebacker). But he went out and had, like, 10 or 12 solo tackles and he led the defense, and we won that game (14-6)."
Vikings Way on the way?
There's not much that Sid Hartman hasn't seen in his 95 years or epic career. Hartman, who wrote his first column for the Star Tribune in 1945, was impressed by U.S. Bank Stadium during a recent tour, writing:
The legendary Sid Hartman received a private tour of U.S. Bank Stadium earlier this week.
*… everything good that has been said about the new Vikings stadium is true and then some. *
The concourses are amazing, the scoreboards will rank with the best in any stadium or arena, the sight lines will be the best. You can go on and on and sing the praises of the Vikings' future home."
Hartman quoted Vikings Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Stadium Development about a potential street name change* *to Vikings Way for the venue that's on track for completion in July 2016.
"We're trying to change the street name to Vikings Way in front of the stadium, along with the city council, and then there are some other properties there that we're trying to design to make sure it flows well from the stadium as well as from the plaza to the Downtown East commons, which is that new park," Bagley said.
KFAN.com's A.J. Mansour with a real first-hand look at the virtual reality system the Vikings began implementing as a teaching tool at the start of training camp.
ESPN.com's Ben Goessling on how Stefon Diggs was initially on the radar of Vikings coaches.
1500ESPN.com's Derek Wetmore on the importance of finishing strong.