Kyle Terada/USA TODAY

Harrison Smith thrilled with fans in Hawaii

Vikings safety Harrison Smith got to see the behind-the-scenes value of the Pro Bowl in Hawaii and thought it was “awesome” to see a fan wearing his jersey.

One of the biggest thrills for Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith was getting to spend some time with a young fan wearing his jersey from the Make A Wish Foundation after Friday’s 45-minute Team Rice Pro Bowl practice on Oahu’s north shore in Hawaii.

“It’s awesome,” said the fourth-year pro. “This is what this game is about, is coming out here and kind of giving back to the fans and having this many kids from the Make A Wish Foundation come out here and one of them is even wearing your jersey, it’s humbling and it’s great to be able to put a smile on their face.”

NFL NORTH RIVALS TEAM UP: Green Bay Packers fullback John Kuhn has an unusual teammate this week: Adrian Peterson of the rival Vikings.

“Every time you come out to one of these things it’s just great (because) you battle against these guys all year long, everybody is playmaker, everybody is the guys that you prepare for when you play against them and now they’re all on your team and it’s just great to have all these great players in one spot,” said Kuhn, who gave some insight into a conversation he had with Peterson prior to Thursday’s first practice.

“I know he has one speed, so I already told him, ‘I am getting out of your way. I’m going to let you be the man.’ He’s a great back, a great talent and I’m excited to be in front of him.”

IMITATION FLATTERY: Michael Bennett did his best imitation of Deion Sanders on Friday.

Bennett, a Seattle Seahawks defense end and member of Team Rice for Sunday’s Pro Bowl, did a little bit of everything at a Pro Bowl practice last week.

In addition to his duties on the defensive line, Bennett lined up at wide receiver for one play during the 7-on-7 portion of practice. He caught a short pass from Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston in front of Atlanta cornerback Desmond Trufant.

Bennett later lined up next to Philadelphia’s Darren Sproles as dual punt returners during special teams drills and was the recipient of a reverse from the latter on one return.

“I got to play a little on offense and defense, special teams, so I feel like Deion today. I feel like a real weapon,” said Bennett, who will be playing in his first Pro Bowl on Sunday.

KELCE THANKFUL: Fresh off signing a contract extension with the Kansas City Chiefs, tight end Travis Kelce took the practice field with Team Irvin.

Kelce said he signed the deal on the beach front Friday morning. “It makes you thankful, it humbles you to be in a situation like this,” the third-year pro said.

“Obviously, thanks to the Chiefs organization, the Hunt family and everybody that has made this thing work with John Dorsey and Coach Reid and all of the coaching staff. For them to put this much trust in me makes me more motivated than ever to keep performing.”

ALOHA SPIRIT: Winston, the top overall pick in last year’s draft, has clearly adjusted to island life. The Tampa Bay quarterback and first-time Pro Bowler wore a flower lei around his neck during Team Irvin’s morning practice session.

“It’s my first time in Hawaii and I’m taking everything in,” Winston said. “It’s a blessing to be out there, so I’m just trying to have some fun. Hawaii is a beautiful place.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Team Rice cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on playing against his New York Giants’ teammates quarterback Eli Manning, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and kicker Josh Brown, all of whom are on Team Irvin.

“If I get a chance to line up against those guys I want to get a pick off Eli, I want to frustrate Odell and I want to block one of Josh’s kicks.”


Viking Update Top Stories