Harrison Smith hopeful about 2013 return

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return after injuring his left foot on Oct. 13. He said on Monday night his foot is healing well, and he is still optimistic he can return this season without needing surgery for turf toe.

Smith would be eligible to practice in two weeks and play two weeks after that, meaning he could return for the Vikings' game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 15. He is out of a walking boot, plans to start running on a water treadmill soon and will use his two weeks of practice to determine if he's able to get back in a game this year.

"It's looking really good for not having surgery," Smith said at the Taste of the Vikings event at the Mall of America. "It's been very positive so far."

The second-year safety had two interceptions in the Vikings' first four games before getting injured against the Carolina Panthers, after making Pro Football Weekly's All-Rookie team in 2012. He said he won't try to come back this year if his two weeks of practice make him think he won't be able to compete this year, but for Smith, the possibility of avoiding surgery might be a big enough victory in and of itself.

If he did need surgery, he would have to spend four to six months rehabbing after the operation, but at this point, Smith said, everything appears to be on track for the injury healing without an operation.

"I'm able to walk normally again," he said. "I'll start testing it out soon."