Tomasson’s source said an MRI revealed that Smith sustained a grade 3 sprain and that he could eventually need surgery. He will continue to be evaluated on a week-to-week basis.
There is “some hope” that Smith could put off surgery and return to play late in the regular season, but that ultimately depends on the Vikings remaining in the playoff race.
Smith originally suffered the sprain during Week 11 against the Cardinals but continued to play despite his injury. He ended up aggravating the ankle in the next two weeks and left Thursday’s game in a walking boot.
Smith, 27, is in the first year of a six-year, $56.53 million contract that included $28.578 million guaranteed, and a $10 million signing bonus. His contract made him the league’s highest-paid safety.
In 2016, Smith has appeared in 12 games for the Vikings and recorded 84 total tackles, two sacks, one fumble recovery, and two pass defenses. ProFootballFocus rates him as the No. 7 overall safety out of 89 qualifying players.
We will provide more information regarding Smith as the news becomes available.