Skip to main content

Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith met with the media for the first time since returning from the NFL's Reserve/COVID-19 list. 

Smith, who had an interception in Sunday's loss to the 49ers, missed two games – against the Ravens and Chargers – after testing positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 7. Because he is not vaccinated he was forced to sit out and stay away from team activities for 10 days. 

"Have you given any consideration to getting vaccinated or changed your thoughts on the matter at all after going through it?" Smith was asked during Wednesday's press conference. 

"No," Smith answered. "I mean, for me, like I said, I felt fine the whole time." 

Smith said the positive test "came out of nowhere" and that outside of a taste sensation that he described as being "dull," he "never really felt much." 

"It was weird. I tested on game day and I tested the next day just to confirm it. It's weird when you feel healthy and you don't play, but I get it. That's how the virus works," he said. 

While Smith reported experiencing mild symptoms despite being unvaccinated, data continue to show the risk of severe symptoms, hospitalization and death is significantly lower when an individual is fully vaccinated, 

A recent Texas study showed unvaccinated individuals were 13 times as likely to just test positive for COVID and about 19 times more likely to die from it than those those are fully vaccinated. And a just-released study by the NBA found vaccinated players with breakthrough infections were much less likely t spread COVID to others, as they shed the virus from their bodies much faster.

Smith is a good example of why the NFL has established stringent COVID-19 policies, making players get tested regularly due to the possibility of asymptomatic transmission of the virus. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated team members get tested on a regular basis during the season.  

Smith said he'll continue to follow NFL protocol and wear a mask. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, natural immunity from COVID-19 illness varies by individual. 

"For at least 2–3 months following infection, people with moderate-to-severe COVID-19 illness have higher titers of binding and neutralizing antibodies than people with mild illness," the CDC says, noting that neutralizing antibodies in people who experience moderate-to-severe illness can last 5-8 months. 

What is unclear is how natural immunity and vaccine immunity stack up against the new omicron variant, though health officials say being vaccinated is the best protection at this point. 

Next Up


Two youths seriously injured after being struck by driver in Bloomington

Police say the boy is in a critical condition, while the girl has severe injuries.

Rosedale Center

Two men sentenced for carjacking in Rosedale Center parking lot

Leon Kismit Bell, 49, and Jack Mitchell Piche, 23, were sentenced in U.S. District Court on Jan. 20.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 3.59.30 PM

Police identify White Bear Lake officer shot while serving warrant

The officer is a six-year veteran of the department.

abortion, planned parenthood

Minnesota Senate passes bill codifying abortion into state law

Having already passed in the House, it will now be sent to Gov. Tim Walz for signing into law.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 7.45.44 PM

Tyre Nichols: Initial police version of events bear similarities to George Floyd killing

Memphis PD said Nichols complained of 'shortness of breath' following 'confrontations' with police, who in reality violently beat him.

George Floyd, protest

Twin Cities authorities preparing for community reaction to Tyre Nichols video

The ATF division in St. Paul sent out an alert out of "an abundance of caution."

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 2.12.05 PM

Changes at K102's Chris Carr & Company, with Sam Sansevere joining as co-host

She is the daughter of former KQRS morning show personality Bob Sansevere.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 1.16.21 PM

Minneapolis' Royal Foundry Craft Spirits announces closure

The distillery set out to infuse the Minneapolis craft cocktail scene with British flavor.


Shutterfly to cut almost 100 jobs at Shakopee facility

The layoffs are expected to impact multiple positions within the company.



Osterholm speaks to Vikings about importance of getting vaccinated

The Vikings reportedly have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the NFL.

Patrick Peterson

Vikings getting healthier as Smith, Peterson return to practice

It means Cam Bynum will likely return to a reserve role.

Harrison Smith

Zimmer says his unvaccinated players will have 'harder time' this season

Vaccinated players will experience a more normal 2021 season.

Patrick Peterson

Vikings place Patrick Peterson on COVID-19/reserve list

The Vikings cornerback said he was vaccinated in August.

Brian O'Neill

COVID-19 hits Minnesota Vikings offensive line

Three starters on the offensive line have entered COVID protocols.