The list of veterans that have been released prior to the start of the free agency period grew this afternoon with the announcement that the Vikings have released safety Dwight Smith
Smith, who has played seven seasons – four with the Buccaneers, one with the Saints and the last two with the Vikings – was a player many of us at VU speculated would be released after the season. He had several incidents in his time with the Vikings, including an indecent exposure arrest when he and a woman were interrupted in a Block E stairwell, disciplinary action taken for an argument with head coach Brad Childress, being late for a team meeting that resulted in him being benched for short periods of time, and his latest infraction – an admission of smoking marijuana after a traffic stop outside a Minneapolis strip club where Smith's car was blocking traffic.
Smith was a full-time starter in his two seasons with the Vikings and tied for the team lead in interceptions with four – one of which he returned for a 93-yard touchdown. He was part of a preseason drama with four roster spots available and three players – free-agent signees Mike Doss
and Tank Williams
– and second-year man Greg Blue
vying for two spots behind Smith and Darren Sharper
Childress declined to comment as to why Smith was released, saying simply that the team was going in a different direction and that he didn't want to "cast any aspersions" in reference to the reasons for Smith's release.
By being released, Smith immediately becomes a free agent who has the ability to negotiate a new contract before the free agency period begins at midnight Feb. 29.
The Vikings made the decision on their way off to the Combine to perhaps take a harder look at the crop of the safeties after announcing that veteran Dwight Smith, a starter the last two years, has been released.