Harrison Smith has been placed on injured reserve with a designation to return, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson. The Minnesota Vikings safety is dealing with a turf toe injury, and though he won't need surgery as initially feared, he will have to sit at least eight weeks before returning to play per NFL rules.
Smith suffered the injury during last week's loss to the Carolina Panthers. He left the playing field limping after suffering what was, at the time, deemed a left foot injury.
Smith's long-term absence will leave a struggling Vikings secondary without arguably its best player. The Vikings rank 29th in the NFL against the pass through six weeks, and have already dealt with injuries to cornerbacks Chris Cook and A.J. Jefferson, and safety Jamarca Sanford this season.
Either Andrew Sendejo or Mistral Raymond could be asked to step in for Smith. Both players are in their third seasons. The Vikings have also tried out free agent safeties such as Joe Lefeged and Brandan Bishop over the last few days.