Harrison Smith wins NFC defensive player of the week from Vikings win over 49ers

Smith won the honor for the second time in three regular-season weeks with fumble recovery, sack and interception

EAGAN, Minn. -- Harrison Smith helped lead Minnesota's stifling defense in the 24-16 win against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday and Wednesday he was named NFC defensive player of the week.

Smith recovered a fumble and had the game-clinching interception last in the season-opening victory for the Vikings. The rangy safety also made eight tackles, had two tackles for loss and one sack.

"Hes really smart," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "Hes got great vision. I think thats a big part of it; he sees things he anticipates. Hes a tough guy. Hes versatile. He can do a lot of things."

Smith was his best in the critical moments. His recovery of a fumble concluded a big goal-line stand by Minnesota in the second quarter and his interception of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo late sealed the win.

Zimmer said the team looks at the award as a team honor.

"Hes spot on," Smith said. "You cant go out and just play as an individual. We play well as a team. If I make a play, its normally because a lot of other guys did their job and vice versa. Thats how we approach things, and individual honors like you said are great, but theyre more the result of the collective unit."

It's the second player of the week award in Smith's career and the second in the past three regular-season weeks for him. He won in Week 16 last season for his effort against Green Bay.

The Vikings have had a player of the week after the season-opener in three straight seasons following Eric Kendricks in 2016 and Sam Bradford last season.


Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook said he felt good on Monday after his first full game since last year's knee surgery. Cook had 16 carries for 40 yards and six catches for 55 yards.

"I felt great," Cook said. "I actually wasnt that sore, but I just got to keep getting in banging shape. Another hostile environment this week that were going into, so got to get mentally ready for that. But I felt great coming out of the game."

Cook reiterated that he has moved on from any issues with his surgically repaired knee.

"The knee thing is over with," Cook said. "Its football now. Im trying to focus in on that. Got a game plan this week, and thats Green Bay. The knee thing is out of the way, and everything that I focus on each week is the team that we got at hand. If anything changed from now, well have to change our plans up."

Cook said he hasn't changed his plan to take care of the knee and his body.

"I just do my thing," he said. "I do my maintenance. I wont say it now what I do, but I do my own thing on my knee. I got to take care of it, got to keep strengthening it. You got to stick to the same regiment that got you here, so I still do my same thing that got me here. Lift, go see the trainers, cold tub, all that stuff. Its the same thing for me."