Harrison Smith still plans to practice next week, return this season
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith will undergo a MRI this week to determine the full extent of his recovery from a severe foot injury, categorized as turf toe.
If all goes to plan, Smith will practice Wednesday and will play on Dec. 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I mean, everything's looking up," Smith said. "[The MRI] will kind of be like confirmation, but from a feeling standpoint it feels pretty good."
"I'm shooting for practice and playing as soon as I can."
Smith hasn't played since the Oct. 13 loss against the Carolina Panthers, in which the Vikings lost two defenders when linebacker Desmond Bishop was placed on injured reserve following a torn ACL. Smith was placed on injured reserve-to return.
The new wrinkle to the NFL's IR policy allows teams to free up a roster spot while still reactivating that player eight weeks afterward. Smith can begin practicing after six weeks, which is next week.
After sitting out two months, Smith was wary to predict a full-fledged comeback.
"I know [my stamina] is better than it was last week," Smith said. "You can't really like...even when we come in for training camp, you can be in the best shape you think you can be in and it's still not football shape. So I think you just got to play into it through practice.''
"It's amazing how out of shape you can get in a few weeks, so I'm just getting my cardio back up and making sure that I can make all the movements I need."
Smith led the Vikings' secondary with the only two interceptions by the unit at the time of his injury and cornerback A.J. Jefferson has grabbed the team's only interception in the five games since.
When asked if a 2-8 record gave Smith any incentive to sit the rest of this year out, the second-year pro shot back.