Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol after suffering the brain injury during the second half of Minnesota’s 24-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night.
Speaking Wednesday to the media, head coach Kevin O’Connell said they’ll be careful not to rush Smith back to the field. His status for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions, however, is unknown.
“Short week, so it’ll be a day-to-day process. He feels pretty good but we’ll allow that process to play out,” O’Connell said. “Obviously, the sensitivity that I have for the protocol and making sure our guys are right, especially early on in the season with a veteran player, we’ll allow Harrison to have the entire process.”
The concussion protocol is a five-step process that Smith must clear before returning to practice or a game. It starts with (1) stretching and balance training before moving on to (2) light aerobic exercise, (3) followed by cardio, more stretching and balance tests and strength training. The fourth step introduces running, catching and other non-contact football drills.
If all of those go well, Smith can be cleared to resume full football activities.
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Josh Metellus is Smith’s backup at safety. According to Pro Football Focus, Metellus was on the field for 10 snaps late in the game, seven of which were rushing plays as the Eagles held a 17-point lead.
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