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Vikings strike again, land starting safety Smith

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Posted April 26, 2012 @ 11:14 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

That thing about Rick Spielman wanting to maneuver and get back into Round One? Yeah, it happened.

They helped out the defense by landing Notre Dame S Harrison Smith with the 29th pick, their second starter added in a day’s work.

Help out Christian Ponder with a left tackle and then aid one of the league’s worst secondaries. Not a bad day’s work, to boot.

Smith is tall, smart, instinctive, rangy, strong and willing to hit. The Vikings’ secondary was a hot mess last season, rife with communication problems as DBs often played different techniques and coverages on the same play. Safety was a big problem, but the problem was covered up by injuries and suspensions at corner.

The Vikings were not going to go into the season with Jamarca Sanford and Mistral Raymond as their starting safeties. The class drops off precipitously, in some folks’ eyes, after Mark Barron and Smith. The Vikings felt they had to get him.

Trading up didn’t cost them much, not with the extra picks (pre-deal, they had 10 choices on Friday and Saturday) allotted from the earlier deal with Cleveland.

If there’s a knock on Smith, it’s that he’s not a great playmaker. He had seven interceptions as a junior but zero the rest of his career, despite starting a total of 47 games. There were a lot of dropped picks as a senior. His hands are a worry. But if he can hit, lead and cover a little, the pick should be worth it.

Nice first draft as the maestro for Spielman. His team is better today than it was yesterday.

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