EAGAN, Minn. — Derron Smith is in his third NFL training camp but his first with the Vikings.
The safety was previously with Cleveland and Cincinnati, but he said nothing compares to being at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center in Minnesota, especially with the amenities the facility offers.
"It makes a huge difference," Smith said about the recovery process during camp. "You always try to do the best you can to take care of your body, but sometimes your resources are kind of limited. Here, it's top of the line and we've got everything anybody would ever need.
"It's definitely a lot easier at this facility," Smith added. "I like the contrast … where you go between the hot and cold tubs. It kind of gets the blood flow going in your legs."
Smith may be new to Minnesota, but he's a veteran of 38 career games with the Bengals and Browns from 2015-2017, and he has one career fumble recovery.
Smith played for the San Antonio Commanders in the Alliance of American Football this past spring.
Smith had 21 total tackles and three interceptions in seven games with San Antonio. He was a sixth-round pick by Cincinnati in 2016 out of Fresno State.
Smith said the chance to play professional football again after not playing in 2018 has been a blessing for him.
"It was the perfect fit. Having football taken away from you for an entire season, it's hard," Smith said. "It hurts, so I'm definitely grateful, and I appreciate every that day I'm able to come out here and do what I love to do."
Smith played 30 snaps on defense and seven on special teams in Minnesota's 34-25 win over the Saints on Friday.
View exclusive images shot by Vikings team photographer Andy Kenutis as the Vikings and Saints competed against each other in the first preseason game of the year at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Here are three other topics Smith covered with Vikings.com:
You grew up in the town of Banning, about 85 miles east of Los Angeles. How did that shape who you are as a person?
"Growing up in Banning, it's a small town so I went to a smaller high school. Just having to grind for everything. I wasn't heavily recruited, and not many people have the opportunity to make it to college, much less the NFL. Me having that grind mentality, that comes from where I'm from."
You were a long jumper in high school, does that help you with football at all? And what was your best jump?
"I think anytime anyone runs track or plays multiple sports … I was a three-sport athlete with football, track and basketball … all of that hand-eye coordination and developing athletic movements can only help. I think my best jump was 23 feet, 6 inches. I was pretty decent. I was supposed to go to state, but I got disqualified."
Is there a story behind that DQ?
"It was a uniform malfunction. The rules were that you could have three colors in your uniform. Our colors were green, black and white. I had a black undershirt and black compression shorts. But on the compression shorts, there was some stitching on the back, and one line was gray. They counted that as a fourth color and disqualified me after my first jump, which would have ended up winning. I would have won my division and went to state. It still hurts. And then two years later, they changed the rules."
Do you have a favorite teammate on the Vikings?
"I feel like I'm still getting to know all the guys, especially in the DB room. Right now, it would probably be Duke Thomas because we played together in the AAF. During OTAs, he was my roommate. I feel like I've been around him more than anybody. But Harry (Harrison Smith) is super cool, a down-to-earth dude. Ant (Anthony Harris) is great. JK (Jayron Kearse) is great; I'm working with him with the 2s at safety. I'm still developing that bond with everybody, but that's what happens during camp."