Defense first: Smith downplays tackles lead

Harrison Smith led the Vikings in tackles, but he said he’s just doing his job and hopes that tackles get made before the ball carrier gets to his level.

For almost the entirety of his career, Chad Greenway led the Vikings in tackles. That streak got broken in 2014 when safety Harrison Smith led the team in tackles with 102.

Smith displayed his playmaking ability, but it begs the question: Is it a good thing to be a safety leading the team in tackles?

A lot of those tackles come deep down the field. But in the new defensive scheme with the Vikings, safeties are asked to do a lot.

“You see me down at the line sometimes and playing pass defense deep,” Smith said. “We have a lot of freedom in our defense to put safeties in position to make plays. It’s up to us to get it done. I’m put in position to make tackles and it’s my job to do it.”

But, Smith was willing to admit, for the Vikings to improve defensively, a lot more tackles will need to be made by the front seven. The opportunities are there for everyone. Smith did his part in 2014, but he realizes that safeties don’t lead teams in tackles too often.

“When the ball is snapped, it’s our job to get to it,” Smith said. “That’s what we do. We have 11 guys going for the ball and whoever gets to it first is the one who stops the play. I led the team in tackles because the guy with the ball came my way. I don’t care if I lead the team. I care that I make tackles when I should.”


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  • The final numbers for the third fiscal quarter of the sales of NFL jerseys (September through November) were released this week and Bridgewater finished 21st in the rankings. Ten of the top 20 players on the list were quarterbacks, including Peyton Manning (No. 1), Russell Wilson (2), Colin Kaepernick (3), Tom Brady (5), Aaron Rodgers (6), Drew Brees (12), Andrew Luck (13), Johnny Manziel (14), Tony Romo (17) and Nick Foles (18). The numbers for Brady, Rodgers and Brees are the most impressive, given the amount of time they’ve spent with their current teams and how many fans have already purchased their jerseys. Adrian Peterson didn’t show up on the list as he was embroiled in his legal controversy at the time. The only other Viking to finish in the top 50 was Cordarrelle Patterson, who finished 48th.

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