Vikings safety Harrison Smith will miss Sunday’s game against the Jaguars while dealing with a high ankle sprain, and the possibility exists that Harrison could miss the remainder of the season, a source tells Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Smith could need surgery at some point, but for now, team doctors will evaluate him on a weekly basis and assess his condition. Smith, who was originally injured in the Minnesota’s November 20 game against the Cardinals and has aggravated the issue in two contests since, has a grade three sprain, the most serious form of the ailment, per Tomasson. Smith could potentially return late in the regular season, but that decision will likely be affected by the Vikings’ playoff position (the club currently sits at 6-6, second place in the NFC North).
Smith, 27, is one of the premier safeties in the NFL, and was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2015. Signed to a five-year, $51.25MM extension prior to 2016 that made him the third-highest paid safety in the league, Smith has continued to produce, starting all 12 games while posting 64 tackles, two fumble recoveries, and two passes defensed. Pro Football Focus currently grades Smith as the No. 7 safety in the NFL among 89 qualifiers.
Poor injury luck has hit the Vikings harder than any other NFL club, but most of those issues have come on the offensive side of the ball, where Teddy Bridgewater, Adrian Peterson, Matt Kalil, Andre Smith, Mike Harris, Jake Long, and others have been lost for most (or all) of the season. Minnesota’s defense has been more stable, but could struggle to uphold its No. 6 DVOA ranking with Smith sidelined.
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