Vikings Linebacker Requires Open-Heart Surgery, Will Miss 2020 Season

Minnesota Vikings

Getty Second-year linebacker Cameron Smith requires open-heart surgery and will miss the 2020 season.

Vikings linebacker Cameron Smith was added to the COVID-19 reserve list last week and announced devastating news on Saturday regarding his status for the 2020 season.

Smith posted on Instagram that he needs open-heart surgery after doctors discovered he has a severely enlarged heart due to a bicuspid aortic valve, a condition he was born with. The good fortune is Smith was prompted for further testing on his heart after testing positive for coronavirus, possibly avoiding a future accident had he not.

Here’s what he wrote:

Earlier this week I found out I need open heart surgery to fix a bicuspid aortic valve that I was born with. Although this will unfortunately end my 2020 season, it is really a blessing that we found this as my heart is severely enlarged and wouldn’t have lasted much longer.

I found this out after I tested positive for COVID and had to have further testing done as protocol. The Lord works in mysterious ways, but I could really feel him on this one!

Smith added that he has no intentions of quitting football and expects to return as soon as he has healed:

There is a surgery that will allow me to continue to play football as soon as I am healed and cleared and I didn’t think twice about going with that one. By no means am I ready to be done playing football, there is still so much more I want to accomplish on the field. Im going to attack this like everything else I have in life. Already looking forward to the comeback! #SKOL

View this post on Instagram

Earlier this week I found out I need open heart surgery to fix a bicuspid aortic valve that I was born with. Although this will unfortunately end my 2020 season, it is really a blessing that we found this as my heart is severely enlarged and wouldn’t have lasted much longer. I found this out after I tested positive for COVID and had to have further testing done as protocol. The Lord works in mysterious ways, but I could really feel him on this one!🙏🏻 There is a surgery that will allow me to continue to play football as soon as I am healed and cleared and I didn’t think twice about going with that one. By no means am I ready to be done playing football, there is still so much more I want to accomplish on the field. Im going to attack this like everything else I have in life. Already looking forward to the comeback! #SKOL

A post shared by Cam (@_killacam) on

Smith was waived on Monday. Once he clears waivers he’ll be added to the team’s non-football injury list and is expected to be paid his full $675,000 salary, per InsideTheViking’s Will Ragatz.

Smith, a fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft, exceeded expectations his rookie year, making the practice squad and later being promoted to the 53-man roster. He played in five games last season, largely on special teams, and was a prime candidate to fill in as a weakside linebacker, barring starter Ben Gedeon remains on the Vikings’ physically-unable-to-perform list.

Gedeon suffered two concussions last year and has yet to be cleared for full-contact practices, which begin Aug. 16.

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Vikings Sign Ex-Raiders, Dolphins Linebacker

On Friday, the Vikings signed linebacker Quentin Poling, likely a move the team made to add a body to training camp in the absence of Smith. Poling, a 2018 7th round pick by the Miami Dolphins, was active on the Raiders’ roster for one game last season.

He also spent time on the Atlanta Falcons practice squad in between two stints with the Raiders. The Vikings waived running back Tory Brook-James to make room for Poling.

The Vikings linebacker group consists of fourth-round pick Troy Dye out of Oregon, who could land a special teams role and some reps at weakside linebacker. Baylor seventh-rounder Blake Lynch whose versatility could help him find a role early. Undrafted rookie Jordan Fehr out of Appalachian State, ran a 4.45 40-yard dash and played a similar role to Anthony Barr’s in college. The addition of XFL star Demarquis Gates, who led both the XFL and NFL in forced fumbles, gives the Vikings varying options at linebacker.

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Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.