MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings just suffered an unusual but significant blow early in the second quarter here at the Metrodome.
Rookie safety Harrison Smith, whose early success this season was the subject of a post Friday morning, was ejected for shoving aside an official who was trying to remove him from a scrum. The Vikings, who have two injured safeties on their inactive list -- Mistral Raymond and Andrew Sendejo -- are now playing with rookie Robert Blanton alongside Jamarca Sanford.
I couldn't tell which official Smith was tangled up with on the only replay I saw. I'll pass the name along if and when I can confirm it. I don't think what Smith did was vicious or outrageous, but generally speaking, when an official puts his hands on you, you need to stand down. As for the Vikings' game next week against the Washington Redskins, we'll see if Smith is suspended by the NFL. There are no hard and fast rules there.
Already in this game, Smith has recovered a fumble and made a blistering hit on Tennessee Titans receiver Kendall Wright. The Vikings lead 13-0 near the end of the second quarter, but they'll have to go the rest of the way without one of their top defensive players.