Harrison Smith (American Football)
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Harrison Smith American Football

Harrison Smith
refer to caption
Smith with the Minnesota Vikings in 2015
No. 22 - Minnesota Vikings
Personal information
Born: (1989-02-02) February 2, 1989 (age 32)
Augusta, Georgia
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:214 lb (97 kg)
Career information
High school:Knoxville Catholic
(Knoxville, Tennessee)
College:Notre Dame
NFL Draft:2012 / Round: 1 / Pick: 29
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2020
Player stats at NFL.com

Harrison Smith (born February 2, 1989) is an American football strong safety who plays in the National Football League for the Minnesota Vikings. He was drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft (29th overall). He played college football for Notre Dame.

In 2017, Smith was graded the third-best player in the NFL by Pro Football Focus.[1] His season grade of 98.8 was also the highest among safeties in Pro Football Focus history.[2] He was named to his third straight Pro Bowl on January 22, 2018 and was named first team All-Pro.[3][4] He followed with a 4th consecutive Pro Bowl in 2019 and second team All-Pro.

High school career

Smith, who was named by his parents after actor Harrison Ford ,attended Knoxville Catholic High School in Knoxville, Tennessee. In his senior season, he gained 1,340 yards rushing to go with 19 touchdowns, caught 23 passes for 453 yards and six touchdowns, and also made 61 tackles, two tackles for loss, two interceptions, and caused two fumbles on defense. He was named Gatorade Football Player of the Year in Tennessee in 2006.

In addition to football, Smith also played basketball and ran track. In track, he competed primarily as a jumper. He won the state meet in the high jump 1.98 meters (6.5 ft) and the decathlon, scoring 6,230 points. He had a career-best leap of 2.03 meters (6.8 ft) in the high jump.[5] He also had personal-best jumps of 6.54 metres (21 ft 5 in) in long jump and 14.15 metres (46 ft 5 in) in triple jump.

Considered a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, he was listed as the No. 25 athlete in the nation.[6] Many scouts believed he could play offense or defense in college.[] He chose Notre Dame over offers from Tennessee, Auburn, Stanford, and Alabama.

College career

After red-shirting as a freshman in 2007, he emerged as a star in 2008. He began his career at linebacker. In his first year, he started 9 games and recorded 57 tackles, which included 8.5 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks. As a junior in 2009, he started 6 games at strong safety, then strongside linebacker for the final 6 games. He recorded 69 tackles including 6.5 tackles for loss. In 2010, as a senior, he played strong safety where he recorded 93 tackles including a team-high 7 interceptions. In 2011, he was accepted to a graduate program at Notre Dame allowing him to play another season.[7] In his final year in 2011, serving as team captain, he played in and started in all 13 games. He recorded 90 tackles including 3 tackles for loss.

College statistics

Regular season statistics Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
Season Team GP GS Comb Total Ast Sck Sfty PDef Int Yds Avg Lng TDs FF FR FR yds
2008 Notre Dame 13 9 57 39 18 3.5 -- 7 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
2009 Notre Dame 12 12 69 39 30 0.0 -- 4 0 0 0.0 0 0 1 0 0
2010 Notre Dame 13 13 93 56 37 0.0 -- 7 7 54 7.7 23 0 0 0 0
2011 Notre Dame 13 13 90 53 37 0.0 -- 10 0 0 0.0 0 0 1 0 0
Totals 51 47 309 187 122 3.5 -- 28 7 54 7.7 23 0 2.0 0 0

Professional career

Coming out of Notre Dame, Smith was projected by the majority of analysts to be a first round draft selection. He was ranked the second best strong safety, behind Alabama's Mark Barron, and the 46th best prospect by NFLDraftScout.com. He was invited to attend the 2012 NFL Combine as a free safety and completed the entire workout and every positional drill. Smith was satisfied enough with his combine performance that he chose to only partake in positional drills at Notre Dame's Pro Day.[8] He received positive reviews from analysts and scouts for his size, athletic ability, play recognition, intelligence, tackling ability, reaction time, consistency, and production. He mainly received negative reviews on his man to man coverage ability.[9]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6 ft 1+78 in
(1.88 m)
213 lb
(97 kg)
32+58 in
(0.83 m)
10+14 in
(0.26 m)
0 in
(0.00 m)
10 ft 2 in
(3.10 m)
All values from NFL Combine[9][10]


On April 26, 2012, the Minnesota Vikings drafted Smith in the first round (29th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft after trading up with the Baltimore Ravens.[11] On May 31, 2012, the Minnesota Vikings signed Smith to a four-year, $7.13 million contract with $5.78 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $3.63 million.[12]

Entering training camp, Smith competed against Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo for the starting free safety spot. Smith was named the starting free safety to begin the regular season.[13] He made his professional regular season debut and first career start in the Vikings' season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He finished the 26-23 victory with seven combined tackles. During the Week 5 matchup against the Tennessee Titans, Smith was ejected for moving an official out of the way; the Vikings still won, 30-7. On October 21, 2012, Smith made six combined tackles and a pass deflection, and made his first career interception off of John Skelton for a 31-yard touchdown. It was his first career touchdown and sealed the 21-14 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.[14] The following game, he made a season-high 13 combined tackles in a 36-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On December 2, 2012, Smith recorded 11 combined tackles and intercepted Aaron Rodgers in a 23-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers. The following week against the Chicago Bears, he recorded seven total tackles and recorded his second pick-six of the season, returning an interception off Jay Cutler for a 52-yard touchdown in a 21-14 victory over the Chicago Bears. The next game, Smith had a season-high nine solo tackles and an assisted tackle during a 36-22 win over the St. Louis Rams. In a Week 16 matchup against the Houston Texans, he decided seven solo tackles and made his first career sack on Matt Schaub, as the Vikings routed the Texans, 23-6.[15]

He finished his rookie season with 104 combined tackles, one sack, three interceptions, and two touchdowns.[16]


He returned as the starting free safety the following season. In the season-opener against the Detroit Lions, Smith made a season-high ten combined tackles and deflected a pass as the Vikings lost 34-24. The following week, he recorded eight solo tackles and intercepted Jay Cutler for his first of the season. The Minnesota Vikings went on to lose to the Chicago Bears 31-30.[17] In a Week 3 contest against the Cleveland Browns, Smith racked up five solo tackles and intercepted Brian Hoyer in a 31-27 loss to the Browns.[18] On October 18, 2013, Smith was placed on injured-reserve after suffering an injury to his left foot during a Week 6 loss to the Carolina Panthers.[19] On December 14, 2013, after missing 8 games, Smith was activated to the 53-man roster.[20] The next day, he played in his first game since returning and made eight combined tackles in a 48-30 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Smith started only seven games in the 2013 season due to his foot injury and made 58 combined tackles and two interceptions.[16]


He resumed as the starting free safety under new head coach Mike Zimmer. In the season-opener against the St. Louis Rams, Smith made two solo tackles, a pass deflection, a sack, and intercepted a pass by Shaun Hill, returning it for an 81-yard touchdown in a 34-6 victory.[21] In Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons, Smith intercepted a pass thrown by Matt Ryan in a 41-28 win.[22] The following week, in a Thursday Night game against the Green Bay Packers, Smith intercepted a pass thrown by Matt Flynn in a 42-10 loss.[23] On November 2, 2014, he recorded a season-high ten solo tackles in a 29-26 win over the Washington Redskins. In a Week 11 contest, Smith recorded three solo tackles, a pass deflection, and intercepted a pass thrown by Jay Cutler in a 21-13 loss to the Chicago Bears.[24] The next game, he deflected a pass, made five solo tackles, and assisted on five tackles, tying his season-high of ten combined tackles in a 24-21 loss to the Packers. In Week 16 against the Miami Dolphins, Smith intercepted a pass thrown by Ryan Tannehill in a 37-35 loss.[25] He started all 16 games and finished his first year under head coach Mike Zimmer with 92 combined tackles, nine deflected passes, three sacks, five interceptions, and a touchdown.[16]


On May 3, 2015, the Minnesota Vikings picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract that paid him $5.28 million for 2016.[12][26]

In the seasons opener, he recorded a season-high nine combined tackles in a 20-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The next game, Smith made a season-high six solo tackles in a 26-16 win over the Detroit Lions. On October 4, 2015, he made three combines tackles and made his first interception of the season off of Peyton Manning in a 23-20 loss to the Denver Broncos.[27] On December 27, 2015, Smith racked up five combined tackles, intercepted Eli Manning, and returned it for a 35-yard touchdown, as the Vikings routed the New York Giants, 49-17.[28] He set a Minnesota Vikings' franchise record with four interceptions returned for touchdowns in a career.[29] Smith started 13 games for the Vikings in the 2015 season and missed Weeks 12, 14, and 15 due to a knee injury. He finished the season with 66 combined tackles, 1.5 sacks, two interceptions, and a touchdown.[16]

On January 31, 2016, Smith played in his first Pro Bowl, as an alternate for the injured Earl Thomas.[30] He was ranked 73rd on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016.[31]


On June 6, 2016, Smith signed a five-year, $51.25 million contract extension with the Vikings that included $28.57 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $10 million.[12][32]

In the Vikings' season-opener against the Tennessee Titans, he made eight total tackles in a 25-16 victory. On September 25, 2016, Smith recorded seven combined tackles and sacked Cam Newton for his first of the season, in a 22-10 win against the Carolina Panthers. In a Week 11 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, Smith recorded a season-high ten combined tackles and sacked Carson Palmer in a 30-24 victory.[16] Smith missed Weeks 14 and 15 with a high ankle sprain that was initially thought to possibly be a season-ending injury that required surgery.[33] On December 24, 2016, he returned in a 38-25 loss to the Green Bay Packers and made four solo tackles. He finished the season with 91 tackles, two sacks, and two deflected passes in 14 starts. This was the first season in his career he did not record an interception.[16]

On December 20, 2016, the NFL announced that Smith and fellow Vikings Xavier Rhodes and Cordarrelle Patterson had been voted to the 2017 NFL Pro Bowl. This was his second consecutive Pro Bowl but first as a first-team member.[34] He was ranked 74th on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017.[35]


Smith would have what would be considered the best season of his career in 2017. In Week 3, Smith recorded his first interception of the season off a pass thrown by Jameis Winston in a 34-17 win over the Buccaneers.[36] Two weeks later, in a Monday Night game against the Bears, Smith intercepted rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky to seal a 20-17 win.[37] Against the Packers the following week, Smith sacked Brett Hundley 1.5 times and intercepted a pass thrown by Hundley in a 23-10 win.[38] In a rematch with the Packers in Week 16, Smith recorded two more interceptions against Hundley in a 16-0 win, earning him NFC Defensive Player of the Week.[39]

Smith was graded the third-best player in the NFL by Pro Football Focus.[1] His season grade of 98.8 was also the highest among safeties in Pro Football Focus history.[2] He was named to his third straight Pro Bowl on January 22, 2018 and was named first team All-Pro. He was also nominated for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.[3][4] He was ranked 46th on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2018.[40]


In Week 1, Smith intercepted Jimmy Garoppolo, while also recording a sack and a touchdown-saving fumble recovery to go along with 7 tackles in the team's 24-16 win over the San Francisco 49ers, earning him NFC Defensive Player of the Week.[41] In week 5 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Smith had 4 tackles and sealed the game with a big hit late in the 4th quarter to prevent a third-down conversion. In Week 7 against the New York Jets, Smith intercepted Sam Darnold, while also recording 4 tackles and 2 passes defended in the Vikings' 37-17 win. In the following game against the New Orleans Saints, Smith intercepted Drew Brees, which was Brees' first interception of the season, in the Vikings' 30-20 loss. After recording 84 tackles, three sacks, and three interceptions on the season, Smith was selected to a 4th straight Pro Bowl as well as being named a Second-Team All-Pro. Despite Smith's stellar season, however, the Vikings finished second in the NFC North and missed out on the playoffs with an 8-7-1 record.


In Week 3 against the Oakland Raiders, Smith recorded his first interception of the season off Derek Carr in the 34-14 win.[42] In Week 14 against the Detroit Lions, Smith intercepted a pass thrown by rookie quarterback David Blough that was intended for wide receiver Kenny Golladay in the 20-7 win.[43] In Week 15 against the Los Angeles Chargers, Smith intercepted a pass thrown by Philip Rivers and recovered a fumble forced by Danielle Hunter on Melvin Gordon during the 39-10 win.[44] In Week 16 against the Green Bay Packers, Smith forced a fumble on wide receiver Davante Adams that was recovered by teammate Eric Kendricks during a 23-10 loss.[45] He finished the year with 85 tackles, a sack, and three interceptions, while being selected to his fifth straight Pro Bowl.

The Vikings finished second in the NFC North with a 10-6 record, but qualified for the postseason as the NFC's sixth seed. In the Vikings' 26-20 overtime road upset of the Saints in the Wild Card Round, Smith recorded 11 tackles. In the Divisional Round against the eventual NFC champion 49ers, which the Vikings lost 27-10, Smith recorded 8 tackles.


In Week 3 against the Tennessee Titans, Smith recorded his first interception of the season off Ryan Tannehill during the 31-30 loss.[46] In Week 4 against the Houston Texans, Smith was ejected after initiating a helmet to helmet hit on tight end Jordan Akins. The Vikings would go on to win 31-23. [47] In Week 9 against the Detroit Lions, Smith recorded his second interception of the season off Chase Daniel in the 34-20 win. [48] In Week 10 against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, Smith recorded another interception, this time off a pass thrown by Nick Foles during the 19-13 win.[49] In Week 13 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Smith intercepted a pass thrown by Mike Glennon in overtime to set up the Vikings' game winning field goal during the 27-24 win. [50] In Week 17 against the Detroit Lions, Smith recorded his fifth interception of the season (tied his single season career high) off a pass thrown by Matthew Stafford during the 37-35 win.[51]

Career statistics

Year Team Games Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
GP GS Comb Total Ast Sck Sfty PDef Int Yds Avg Lng TDs FF FR FR yds
2012 MIN 16 16 104 74 30 1.0 -- 11 3 87 29.0 56T 2 1 1 0
2013 MIN 8 7 58 47 11 0.0 -- 3 2 4 2.0 4 0 0 1 0
2014 MIN 16 16 92 71 21 3.0 -- 9 5 150 30.0 81T 1 1 0 0
2015 MIN 13 13 66 49 15 1.5 -- 3 2 35 17.5 35T 1 1 0 0
2016 MIN 14 14 91 69 22 2.0 -- 2 -- -- -- -- -- 0 1 0
2017 MIN 16 16 78 61 17 1.5 -- 12 5 42 8.4 19 0 0 0 0
2018 MIN 16 16 84 67 17 3.0 -- 6 3 66 22.0 52 0 1 2 0
2019 MIN 15 15 85 65 20 1.0 -- 11 3 13 4.3 13 0 3 2 0
2020 MIN 16 16 89 54 35 0.5 -- 10 5 33 6.6 16 0 0 0 0
Career 130 129 748 558 190 13.5 -- 67 28 430 15.4 81T 4 7 8 0



  1. ^ a b https://www.pff.com/news/pro-top-101-players-from-the-2017-nfl-season
  2. ^ a b "No Matter How Good You Think Harrison Smith Is, He's Better Than You Think He Is". January 2, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Linval Joseph, Kyle Rudolph, Harrison Smith Named to 2018 Pro Bowl". Vikings.com. January 22, 2018. Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ a b Patra, Kevin (January 5, 2018). "All-Pro Team: Antonio Brown is unanimous selection". NFL.com. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ Press, Pioneer. "Vikings draft pick Harrison Smith talks, Bob Sansevere listens - Twin Cities". Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 8, 2015. Retrieved 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Harrison Smith, DS #2 SS, Notre Dame: 2012 NFL draft". nfldraftscout.com. Retrieved 2017.
  9. ^ a b "NFL Events: Combine Player Profiles - Harrison Smith". nfl.com. Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ http://www.draftscout.com/ratings/dsprofile.php?pyid=71840&draftyear=2012&genpos=ss
  11. ^ "Vikings Move Up, Select Notre Dame S Harrison Smith". www.vikings.com. April 26, 2012. Archived from the original on May 1, 2012. Retrieved 2016.
  12. ^ a b c "Sportrac.com: Harrison Smith contract". sportrac.com. Retrieved 2017.
  13. ^ "Ourlads.com: Minnesota Viking's Depth Chart: 08/29/2012". ourlads.com. Retrieved 2017.
  14. ^ "NFL Game Center: Week 7-2012: Arizona Cardinals @ Minnesota Vikings". NFL.com. Retrieved 2017.
  15. ^ "NFL Game Center: Week 16-2012: Minnesota Vikings @ Houston Texans". NFL.com. Retrieved 2012.
  16. ^ a b c d e f "NFL Player Profile: Harrison Smith". NFL.com. Retrieved 2017.
  17. ^ "NFL Game Center: Week 2-2013: Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears". NFL.com. Retrieved 2017.
  18. ^ "NFL Game Center: Week 3-2013: Cleveland Browns @ Minnesota Vikings". NFL.com. Retrieved 2017.
  19. ^ Gates, Christopher (October 18, 2013). "Harrison Smith Placed On Injured Reserve-Recall List". Daily Norseman. Retrieved 2016.
  20. ^ CCNorseman (December 14, 2013). "Report: Josh Robinson to IR, Harrison Smith Activated". Daily Norseman. Retrieved 2016.
  21. ^ "NFL Game Center: Week 1-2013: Minnesota Vikings @ St. Louis Rams". NFL.com. Retrieved 2017.
  22. ^ https://www.espn.com/nfl/game?gameId=400554242
  23. ^ https://www.espn.com/nfl/game/_/gameId/400554197
  24. ^ https://www.espn.com/nfl/game?gameId=400554340
  25. ^ https://www.espn.com/nfl/game?gameId=400554373
  26. ^ Goessling, Ben (May 4, 2015). "Vikings pick up fifth-year options on Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2016.
  27. ^ "NFL Game Center: Week 4-2015: Minnesota Vikings @ Denver Broncos". NFL.com. Retrieved 2017.
  28. ^ "NFL Game Center: Week 16-2015: New York Giants @ Minnesota Vikings". NFL.com. Retrieved 2017.
  29. ^ "Can't Miss: Harrison Smith's Pick-Six vs. NYG". www.vikings.com. Archived from the original on August 4, 2017. Retrieved 2016.
  30. ^ Young, Lindsey (January 25, 2016). "Harrison Smith Headed to 1st Career Pro Bowl". www.vikings.com. Archived from the original on March 30, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  31. ^ NFL Top 100 Players of 2016 - No. 73 Harrison Smith
  32. ^ Orr, Conor (June 6, 2016). "Harrison Smith signs $51.25M extension with Vikings". NFL.com. Retrieved 2016.
  33. ^ Patra, Kevin (November 7, 2016). "Report: Harrison Smith could possibly miss the rest of the season with ankle injury". NFL.com. Retrieved 2017.[permanent dead link]
  34. ^ "NFL announces 2017 Pro Bowl rosters". NFL.com. Retrieved 2017.
  35. ^ NFL Top 100 Players of 2017 - No. 74 Harrison Smith
  36. ^ https://www.espn.com/nfl/recap?gameId=400951604
  37. ^ https://www.espn.com/nfl/game?gameId=400951691
  38. ^ https://www.espn.com/nfl/game?gameId=400951702
  39. ^ Maya, Adam (December 27, 2017). "Todd Gurley, Dion Lewis among NFL Players of Week". NFL.com.
  40. ^ "Harrison Smith Makes NFL's Top 100 at No. 46". vikings.com. Archived from the original on June 1, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  41. ^ Teope, Herbie (September 12, 2018). "Mahomes, Fitzpatrick among Players of the Week". NFL.com.
  42. ^ "NFL rushing leader Cook leads Vikes romp past Raiders 34-14". www.espn.com. September 22, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  43. ^ "Defense delivers as Vikings sail past Lions 20-7". www.espn.com. December 8, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  44. ^ "Minnesota takes advantage of 7 Chargers turnovers in victory". www.espn.com. December 15, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  45. ^ "Packers clinch NFC North with 23-10 win over Vikings". www.espn.com. December 23, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  46. ^ "Tennessee Titans at Minnesota Vikings - September 27th, 2020". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2020.
  47. ^ "Minnesota Vikings at Houston Texans - October 4th, 2020". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2020.
  48. ^ "Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings - November 8th, 2020". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2020.
  49. ^ "Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears - November 16th, 2020". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2020.
  50. ^ "Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings - December 6th, 2020". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2020.
  51. ^ "Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions - January 3rd, 2021". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2021.
  52. ^ "Harrison Smith Stats". NFL.com. National Football League. Retrieved 2016.

External links

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