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5 Things to Know About New Vikings Outside Linebackers Coach Mike Smith


EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings recently added Mike Smith to their coaching staff.

The 40-year-old is Minnesota's new outside linebackers coach and pass rush specialist, a position the Vikings did not have in recent seasons but one that's common among teams that implement 3-4 principles.

Defensive Coordinator Ed Donatell said last week that he plans to be multiple with Minnesota's defensive front, attacking from a 3-4 and 4-3.

Here are five things to know about Smith:

1. Familiar with Pettine

Smith has joined Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell's staff, but he is most familiar with Assistant Head Coach Mike Pettine.

Pettine served as the defensive coordinator in Green Bay from 2018-2020 and brought Smith to the Packers in 2019.

Smith was Green Bay's outside linebackers coach from 2019-2021 before stepping away from the organization this offseason.

Smith and Pettine were also together in the mid-2000s when Pettine coached Smith as a player in Baltimore. The two reunited from 2010-12 with the Jets.

2. Plenty of recent success

Smith is entering his sixth NFL season as an outside linebackers coach, and has gotten plenty of success out of his players in that role.

In fact, a player from Smith's position group has recorded at least 9.0 sacks in each of the past four seasons he's had that title.

He spent 2018 in Kansas City, where outside linebacker Dee Ford racked up 13 sacks.

In 2019 with Green Bay, Za'Darius Smith (13.5) and Preston Smith (12) each hit double-digit sacks.

Za'Darius Smith had 12.5 sacks in 2020 before Rashan Gary (9.5) and Preston Smith (9.0) each had strong seasons in 2021.

3. Plenty of coaching stops

Smith began his coaching career at the University of Hawaii in 2009 as the linebackers coach. He then jumped to the NFL and was a coaching intern with the Jets from 2010-11 before his promotion to outside linebackers coach in 2012.

He went back to his alma mater, Texas Tech, from 2013-15 as the Red Raiders co-defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach.

Smith was then back in the NFL as a defensive assistant with Kansas City from 2016-17 before getting promoted to outside linebackers coach in 2018.

4. Former NFL linebacker

Smith's NFL playing career as a linebacker with the Ravens was shortened by a shoulder injury.

Baltimore selected him in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL Draft with the 234th overall pick. (Quarterbacks Matt Cassel and Ryan Fitzpatrick were also selected in that round that year).

Smith played six games as a rookie, recording three total tackles in 2005. He then played in eight of Baltimore's first nine games in 2006, collecting three total tackles in those games, too.

He made his first (and only) NFL start in Week 10 against the Titans, but suffered the shoulder injury on the first defensive series of the game.

5. A Texas native

Smith hails from Lubbock, Texas, and was a high school standout on the gridiron before going to play at Texas Tech, his hometown college.

A linebacker for the Red Raiders, Smith was an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention and was named to the All-Big 12 Freshman Team in 2001.

Smith made 45 career starts in 50 games in college at both inside and outside linebacker. Smith was also an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention as a senior.

He graduated in 2004 with a degree in communication studies.