Smoot, who was cut by the Vikings in March after two ugly years, had something different to say Wednesday about his return to the Metrodome.
"I'm trying to get to the playoffs, I don't care who we play," said Smoot, who has yet to reach postseason during his seven-year career. "Watching (the Vikings) going on a winning streak, I knew we were going to bump heads. I always knew the game was going to mean a little more than just me going back to Minnesota. I ain't got nothing to prove to the Vikings. I'm happy where I'm at, and I'm sure they're happy."
The Redskins are glad that Smoot is back where he began his career in 2001 and started for four years before following the lure of big bucks to Minnesota.
"We had a pretty good tandem in 2004, and Fred is playing as well as he was when he left," cornerback Shawn Springs said. "We've been playing a lot of (man-to-man coverage) the last couple of weeks, and he's been playing extremely well. I always tease him, ‘When you get with me, you play better.'"
A hamstring injury sidelined Smoot for three games in September and October, and he was coughing up blood during the Dec. 6 victory over Chicago, but last Sunday against the New York Giants, he was terrific in holding Plaxico Burress to just three catches for 35 yards.
"It's been a good year as far as me coming back because I love where I'm at," Smoot said. "I feel real good. Early in the year, the hamstring kinda had me down. Every time I got in a groove, it pulled back up. But my hamstring's been doing good, and I've been playing at a high level."
And often receiving "Smoooot" cheers from the home fans. Smoot knows that he won't get a similar reception on Sunday at the Metrodome.
"The good part (is) I won't be able to tell the difference," Smoot said. "The three or four fans I might still have there might put a little ‘S' in front and get Smoot out of it."
Smoot is unpopular in Minnesota because he was one of the organizers of the infamous "Love Boat" ride that helped destroy the Vikings' 2005 season and for which he wound up pleading guilty to a misdemeanor. Smoot was also hurt twice, benched by two different coaching staffs, held out of the 2005 finale for missing curfew and made it clear that he couldn't wait to get out of town.
"It was one thing after another in Minnesota," said Smoot, who re-signed with the Redskins three days after being cut. "I wasn't allowed to be Fred Smoot. Picture me depressed. I was hating going to work. I didn't want to talk to the media. I just wanted to play the games."
And now he gets to play his biggest game in that same locale.
SERIES HISTORY: 19th meeting. Washington leads, 10-8-0. The last time the teams played in the Metrodome, Oct. 18, 1998, the Redskins lost 41-7. Minnesota has won three of the past four meetings.
BY THE NUMBERS: 5-0 — Joe Gibbs' record in the Metrodome. Gibbs beat the Vikings in the 1984, 1987 and 1992 regular seasons, in a 1992 playoff game (his last victory of his first Redskins tenure) and beat Buffalo in Super Bowl XVI (the last of his three titles).
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't take second kindly." — FB Mike Sellers, unhappy about being the first alternate to Minnesota's Tony Richardson for the Pro Bowl.
"It means a lot," CB Fred Smoot said. "It means they still value the work he put in. After about the fifth and sixth game, he had already (punched) his ticket to the Pro Bowl from the plays he had made."
"I've always been scared about guns, but I'm strongly thinking about getting one," Samuels said. "Everybody talks about a small percentage of people having to protect themselves in their own home, but what if you are in that small percentage? What do you do?"
The Redskins placed LB Rocky McIntosh (torn knee ligaments) on injured reserve, cut CB John Eubanks (foot) and promoted rookie free agent DE Alex Buzbee from the practice squad. They will fill their open roster spot later this week.