Vikings’ Smith avoids fine for hit on Miller
Harrison Smith (Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY)
Harrison Smith (Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY)
Posted Oct 4, 2013
Tim Yotter

Harrison Smith said he knows he is on the NFL’s radar when it comes to fines, but he avoided a potentially big fine after a hit that appeared clean but drew a flag last Sunday. One Pittsburgh Steeler wasn’t as lucky and was fined for his tackle of Adrian Peterson.

Apparently, the NFL fine police agree with Harrison Smith’s post-game assessment of the penalty called against him for unnecessary roughness last Sunday.

The Minnesota Vikings safety was flagged 15 yards for unnecessary roughness for a hit he put on Steelers TE Heath Miller after a 28-yard reception. Miller came down with the ball and appeared to lower his head as Smith came in for the tackle. Smith, who was fined about $40,000 last year for penalties against him, was not fined for his hit Sunday.

“Heath Miller had a knee injury last year, right? And as a player, as a fan, I know that. I don’t want to hit him in the knee. I want to hit him in a good area. I try to keep my head out of it. I didn’t launch, and I don’t really know what else to do,” Smith said after the game. “There was a play later where I hit him lower, and I didn’t want to do it but I had to. That might have made him mad. Ultimately, we’re trying to win game. It’s just, it’s tough. I really don’t know what else to do in that situation.”

“… They told us even if they lowered their head, if you make contact with the helmet, that’s a fine. But that’s pretty unreasonable in my opinion.”

This time, the NFL agreed.

Several other players in that game also avoided fines, despite being flagged for unnecessary roughness.

  • Vikings S Andrew Sendejo wasn’t fined for unnecessary roughness on WR Jerricho Cotchery in the fourth quarter, a penalty that cost the Vikings 15 yards.

  • Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley wasn’t fined for throwing down Kyle Rudolph after he was deemed out of bounds, a play that also was flagged.

    There was one penalty, however, that cost a player more than yardage in that game. Steelers DE Al Woods was fined $7,875 for a face mask on RB Adrian Peterson.


    Peterson was voted by fans the NFL’s FedEx Ground Player of the Week after he rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries against the Steelers.

    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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