Safety Harrison Smith is set to become the first Vikings player to appear in three games in London.
Smith missed last Sunday’s 28-24 loss to Detroit at U.S. Bank Stadium with a concussion. However, he returned to practice Wednesday and made the trip Thursday to London for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
“I feel good,’’ said Smith, who was hurt Sept. 19 at Philadelphia. “It was definitely tough (sitting out).”
Smith sat out the 2019 season finale when the playoff-bound Vikings rested starters and he missed two games last season while on the COVID-19 reserve list. Last Sunday marked the first game he had missed due to injury since 2016.
“I didn’t realize it was that long,’’ Smith said. “It felt pretty different, but it’s part of the game.”
Smith is in his 11th NFL season. He previously played in London with the Vikings in a 34-27 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013 and in a 33-16 win over the Cleveland Browns in 2017.
“It’s fun going over there,’’ Smith said. “The fans are really supportive of the game.”
Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen also will be making his third trip to London as a player, but he didn’t appear in the 2013 game since he was then a rookie on the practice squad. Against the Browns, Thielen scored on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Case Keenum in the second quarter and did a soccer slide.
“There will definitely be a soccer-type celebration if I score Sunday,’’ Thielen said. “I’m not going to tell you what that is but hopefully you’ll find out.’’
Vikings rookie defensive lineman Esezi Otomewo won a friendly bet with quarterback Kirk Cousins and rookie wide receiver Jalen Nailor, but has yet to fully relish his victory.
Otomewo played at the University of Minnesota and Cousins and Nailor at Michigan State, and the schools met last Saturday. Minnesota won 34-7, meaning Otowewo was going to bring in some Gophers garb and Cousins and Nailor would have to wear it at the practice facility.
“I was going to bring him a lot of Gophers gear,’’ Otomewo said about Cousins. “I was going to dress him up as a big Gopher.’’
As it turned out, Otomewo didn’t haul in anything for practices on Wednesday and Thursday since he said he “got caught up in the London week and was getting ready to travel.” Then the team left Thursday night for the game.
Vikings safety Camryn Bynum proudly showed off this week his helmet, which has on the back stickers of the American and Philippines flags.
As part of an NFL initiative, Bynum is one of seven Vikings players who will wear helmet decals representing different nations during Weeks 4 and 5 of the season. For the Vikings, the decals will be on display during Sunday’s game and the Oct. 9 game against Chicago at U.S. Bank Stadium.
“The NFL is raising awareness for international players, so it’s for players who have roots internationally,’’ Bynum said. “My mom is full Filipino so I’m half and half, so that’s the country that I’m repping, and I’m excited to do it. It looks super cool on the helmet.”
Also wearing on Vikings helmets flags from other nations will be linebackers Brian Asamoah (Ghana) and William Kwenkeu (Cameroon), edge rushers Patrick Jones II (Japan) and Luiji Vilain (Canada), running back Kene Nwangwu (Nigeria) and offensive lineman Oli Udoh (Nigeria).