Vikings safety Harrison Smith fined $21,000 for hit to receiver's head
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As expected, Harrison Smith's illegal hit on San Diego receiver Mike Willie will cost the Minnesota Vikings' rookie safety a chunk of his first paycheck.
An NFL spokesman said on Friday that Smith has been fined $21,000 for unnecessary roughness on the play, which also gave the Chargers a key first down as they drove for a winning field goal in last week's exhibition at the Metrodome.
The league said Smith was fined because he "unnecessarily struck a defenseless player in the head and neck area with his shoulder."
Smith said after the game his shoulder hurt from the hit, but he practiced last week.
"At the end of the day, football is football," Smith said after the game. "I mean, there's stuff that sometimes you can't control, and I think maybe I was going to go for the ball, then I realized that I should just go for the hit. So, I was kind of caught in the middle there.
"I wished I didn't get the penalty. Maybe I could have played it differently. I'll watch the film."
Two San Diego players who had personal fouls in the same game, Jacques Cesaire and Melvin Ingram, were not fined.