Former Irish captain Harrison Smith introduced as newest Viking

If the Minnesota Vikings can't get their stadium issues resolved, maybe they should move to South Bend.

The Vikings selected former Irish captain and safety Harrison Smith with the 29th overall pick Thursday night. Smith now joins fellow Notre Dame alums Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson and John Sullivan in Minnesota.

The Vikings traded up to select Smith.

"I have to embrace it," Harrison said Friday as he was introduced to the media with his #22 jersey. "Who doesn't want to be a starter if you don't have that competitive fire to go out and compete every day. It's an honor for me for them to think so high of me to come and get me, to spend such a high pick on me. I want to back that up and make them right."

Smith is the 2nd Irish player selected in this year's draft, joining Minneapolis native Michael Floyd, who went 13th overall to the Cardinals. It's the first time since 1994 that Notre Dame has had multiple 1st round selections.

“Harrison Smith is one of the best leaders I’ve ever had on any of my teams,” Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said. “He is an intelligent and instinctual player on the field and a true student of the game off the field. He’ll be a great fit for Minnesota’s defense and I can’t wait to watch his long and successful pro career.”

Harrison feels his role as the captain at Notre Dame will help him in the NFL.

"Going to Notre Dame and being a captain, you're already on a big stage and once you are the captain--you are getting scrutinized win or loss," Smith explained. "I've dealt with being a leader of a team that's gone through things, kind of knowing how to deal with guys, help younger guys, deal with coaches. Kind of be the the guy in between the players and the coaches. It's kind of really given me experience that you can't really find in any other role."

Smith played both safety and linebacker at Notre Dame and finished his career with 309 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, seven interceptions, 28 pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He is the only player in Notre Dame history to register at least 200 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and 15 pass breakups.

Smith is also the first Notre Dame defensive player selected in the 1st round since Renaldo Wynn in 1997.

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