The stage cannot get much bigger than Monday Night Football during the regular season. It’s the only NFL game on television, which means a majority of the NFL nation is likely tuning in to see how the teams perform.
For Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith, he tries to downplay the entire thing.
“There’s only two games on that night so if you’re watching NFL football we’re the one that’s going to be playing,” he said. “So if that’s your thing, that’s good, if it’s not, whatever. It’s just another game to me. Any time I get to be on the field, that’s all I ask for, so I’m just ready to go.”
Emotions are likely going to be running high for everyone else on the Vikings roster. The regular season is finally here and there is a lot of excitement surrounding the team during this season, and with that comes plenty of high expectations.
Adding on a national television audience and it’s not hard to imagine that some players could get overwhelmed. It will be up to the veteran players, such as Smith, to help calm the nerves of teammates and the safety seems to have a good approach to how he is going to do that.
“I think everybody kind of approaches it differently, so some guys may like the big games, others may get nervous about it,” he said. “But one thing that I always think about it it’s still a 100-yard field, 11 guys on both sides. It doesn’t matter how many people are watching it, those are the only people that control what happens. You just go out and play your game, play how the coaches tell us to play.”
The biggest challenge that the Vikings are likely going to face in their Week 1 game is the presence of quarterback Colin Kaepernick on the 49ers roster. He is a mobile quarterback with a big arm and a year ago those are the types of players that caused fits for the Vikings.
But that was then, this is now. Smith does not like to compare different years or different teams to the 2015 Vikings because they are all different.
“I don’t really think about scheme and stuff from other years or teams or anything,” he said. “This is 2015, so what we’ve got going on right now is all I’m focused on.”
It has been a long offseason for the Vikings, which included an extra preseason game, but the regular season is finally upon them and Smith believes his team is ready to face the challenge in front of them.
“I mean I think I’d be crazy to say we weren’t,” he said.