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Cameron Smith Returns to the Field From Open-Heart Surgery

Adam Taylor McKillop
Cameron Smith returns to an NFL field for the first time since his open-heart surgery.
Cameron Smith returns to an NFL field for the first time since his open-heart surgery. / Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
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NFL training camps are an exciting time for players across the league. For many, it's their first taste of full speed football action in months and a chance to shake off the rust or impress enough for a roster spot.

For Cameron Smith of the Minnesota Vikings, this year's training camp takes on a whole different meaning. Smith was a late-round draft pick back in 2019. He played in five games his rookie season and showcases a few flashes of potential.

But then, tragedy hit. Smith was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve, a rare condition that would require open-heart surgery. At that point, it's thinking about quality of life and survival as opposed to a football career. On Tuesday, Smith did the impossible. He returned to the football field in full health and put on football pads for the first time since this open-heart surgery.

Cameron Smith Vikings

There might not be a better redemption story across the NFL in 2021. Smith went on to play in full pads during Tuesday's practice and even impressed with a few hard hits. The best part? The former USC Trojan standout was even able to remove the extra padding protecting his sternum and heart prior to the end of practice.

Minnesota will look to improve upon a defense that ranked just 27th in the NFL with nearly 400 yards allowed per game last year. Smith, a linebacker, will look to do everything in his power to make a difference on Minnesota's defensive front.

Currently, the Vikings own -106 odds to make the playoffs next year, according to the latest NFL odds on FanDuel Sportsbook.


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Adam Taylor McKillop is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Adam Taylor also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username atmckillop. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel. 

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