Minnesota Vikings rookie safety Harrison Smith has been fined $21,000 by the NFL for a hit on San Diego Chargers receiver Mike Willie on Aug. 24.
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The hefty fine sends a stern message to the first-round draft pick, who has already established a reputation as a hard-nosed, big hitter. Smith was penalized for the hit against Willie late in the third preseason game.
Smith was drafted out of Notre Dame to add some playmaking and a harder edge to the back end of the defense. The Vikings have been searching for an intimidating presence at that position for years, and Smith gained a reputation for being willing to get physical even against teammates in practice during training camp while competing for a starting job.