EAGAN, Minn. -- Vikings safety Harrison Smith said Friday, Oct. 9, he was fined $15,000 by the NFL for a penalized hit and ejection in last Sunday’s game at Houston.

The helmet-to-helmet hit was on tight end Jordan Akins late in the first half of Minnesota’s 31-23 victory over the Texans. Akins did not return to the game due to a concussion.

“Obviously, I wasn’t a fan of it,” Smith said Friday of the penalty and ejection. “I thought I did kind of what I could do while still being an active football player on the defensive side of the ball. To avoid those things, tried to lower the target. Tried to tilt my head out. But that’s just kind of how we’re seeing things go.”

Smith said he received notice of the fine Friday, and that he will appeal it.

“It was a nice 15, which I don’t know exactly how they come to those numbers, either,” Smith said. “I’ve been fined worse in a preseason game without getting ejected, so I’m not sure what the formula is. It will be interesting. I’ll appeal it and see how they want me to play there or if they don’t want me to play there. I think having some logic behind it would be nice.”

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Smith is most interested in what the NFL’s response will be following his appeal.

“At the end of the day, they can lower (the fine) or whatever, based off how they are feeling, so it will be interesting to see how I’m told I should play that or not play it,” he said.

Smith was ejected with the Vikings leading 17-6, and was replaced by George Iloka. The Texans cut the deficit to 17-16 in the third quarter before the Vikings scored two touchdowns to go up 31-16.

““I didn’t (expect an ejection), and I didn’t even really think about it until (the officials) were kind of taking a while,” Smith said. “And I was like, ‘Oh wow, that’s like a possibility now.’ I was just trying not to act crazy or anything. I didn’t want to make it worse than it had already been made. We still had a football game to play. George came in and played great, and we got the win. It’s definitely weird watching games from the locker room, but it’s how it is.”

Iloka, in his eighth season, was elevated from the practice squad each of the past two weeks. Because a practice-squad player only can be elevated twice during the season, Minnesota would need to sign Iloka to the 53-man roster for him to play in any more games. A source said the Vikings are considering doing that before Sunday’s game.


  • Something will have to give Sunday night when Vikings running back Dalvin Cook takes on the Seattle Seahawks defense. Cook has rushed for 100 or more yards in two straight games and his 311 is the most he has gained in any two-game stretch in his four-year career. “They haven’t given up a 100-yard rusher (this season),” said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer. “They’ve got a little bit more extra guys in the box.”
  • The Vikings released defensive tackle Albert Huggins from the practice squad. Huggins, who got into four games as a rookie last season with Philadelphia, had been signed to the squad just before the start of the regular season.
  • Smith has been sporting much longer hair this season. “I’ve seen a few guys grow their hair out with the offseason and with the COVID situation, so I just let it go,” he said. “So, I kind of like it.”