By Joseph Gunther

The Minnesota Vikings secondary took a big hit when the team announced that Harrison Smith will not play on Monday against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 29:  Tight end Heath Miller #83 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is tackled by strong safety Mistral Raymond #41 of the Minnesota Vikings and free safety Harrison Smith #22 of the Minnesota Vikings during the NFL International Series game between Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings at Wembley Stadium on September 29, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

(Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)


The second-year safety is emerging as playmaker in the Vikings secondary.

“Harrison is an outstanding young safety,” head coach Leslie Frazier said. “He’s done a great job for us, and in my mind, he’s one of the best safeties in our league.”

Smith posted 34 tackles, three passes defensed, two interceptions and one fumble recovery in five games this season.

The Vikings will not replace Smith with one guy, but rather rely on three. Andrew Sendejo will be the starter, but Mistral Raymond (who began last season as the starter opposite Smith before and ankle injury curtailed his season) and Robert Blanton (a second-year safety who was a college teammate of Smith) will factor into the rotation.

“Andrew, Mistral, Robert Blanton, those guys will do a good job when they’re in there,” Frazier said. “But Harrison is a big-play guy for us. We’re going to miss him.”

The Vikings hope Smith will be able to avoid surgery and just rest and rehab the toe. However, multiple media outlets are reporting that surgery is inevitable, which would put Smith on injured reserved with the designation to return. Frazier said a decision on Smith will be made in “a few days.”

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The surprise on the injury report was Adrian Peterson being limited for a hamstring injury. The running back missed Wednesday’s practice to attend the funeral of his two-year-old son. He should be good to play on Monday, but if he cannot, Toby Gerhart would get the majority of the carries.

The Vikings placed Desmond Bishop on season-ending injured reserve after the linebacker tore his ACL in Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers. Wide receiver Rodney Smith was promoted from the practice squad to take his spot on the 53-man roster. Safety Brandan Bishop was signed to the team’s practice squad to take Smith’s place. Both Rodney Smith and Bishop were undrafted rookies that signed with the Vikings at the conclusion of the draft in April.

The complete injury report:

The Vikings listed tight end Rhett Ellison (knee), quarterback Christian Ponder (rib) and center John Sullivan (hand) as full participants in Thursday’s practice.

The team listed Peterson (hamstring), cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle), defensive tackle Kevin Williams (knee) and wide receiver Jarius Wright (ankle) as limited participants in Thursday’s practice.

The team listed cornerback A.J. Jefferson (ankle), Smith (toe) and kicker Blair Walsh (left hamstring) as non-participants in Thursday’s practice.

For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.

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Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on