Minnesota Vikings quarterback Danny Etling was no more than a stand-in throwing arm while the Vikings quarterback depth was depleted due to the COVID-19 protocols.
Etling filled in for Kirk Cousins, Kellen Mond and Nate Stanley, who all missed at least five days after a COVID-19 exposure in the quarterback room. Etling was cut on Monday, Aug. 23, with the Vikings quarterbacks all active participants in practice again.
The move made room for the Vikings to sign former Atlanta Falcons third-string running back Ito Smith.
A 2018 fourth-round pick out of Southern Mississippi, Smith was an undersized workhorse at 5-foot-9, 200 pounds. He rushed for over 4,000 yards and 42 touchdowns in his final three seasons of college, but his receiving prowess is what established him as the most experienced satellite, pass-catching back in the 2018 draft. He caught 132 passes for 1,370 yards and seven touchdowns in that same span.
Projected to go in the seventh round or undrafted, Smith impressed the Falcons with his tape and outlived his projections by NFL Network analyst Lance Zierlein.
“Undersized workhorse with 940 career touches and 49 career touchdowns. For all of his production on the ground,” Zierlein wrote. “Smith lacks the explosive qualities of a slasher. Smith’s lack of size and burst could hinder his chances as a running back, but his talents as a pass-catcher could keep him alive in a camp.”