Redskins' Smoot returns to the scene
MINNEAPOLIS - Fred Smoot came to Minnesota looking for the playoffs and found the worst two years of his life. He returns Sunday in enemy colors, happy once again, still searching for the playoffs and well aware that a loss to the Vikings will on...
MINNEAPOLIS - Fred Smoot came to Minnesota looking for the playoffs and found the worst two years of his life. He returns Sunday in enemy colors, happy once again, still searching for the playoffs and well aware that a loss to the Vikings will only add to the bounty of bad memories he has of the Twin Cities, Lake Minnetonka and, of course, the infamous "Love Boat" scandal.
"The playoffs are all he talked about when he was here (in 2005-06); that was the reason he came to Minnesota," Vikings strong safety Darren Sharper said. "I know he would be extremely ecstatic if he was to get to the playoffs. But we have something to say about that. We don't want him to get into that spot because we're fighting for that spot, too."
The stakes for Smoot and his Washington Redskins on Sunday night are simple: Win and their playoff aspirations extend to a Week 17 home game against Dallas. Lose and they are eliminated while the Vikings - the team Smoot begged to be released from only months ago - move into prime position for their first playoff berth since 2004, the year before Smoot arrived.
Ironically, the Redskins made the playoffs in 2005, the same year Smoot left them to join the Vikings for $34 million for six years.
During the next two seasons, the Vikings were 10-15 in games in which Smoot played. And that wasn't even close to the low point in what became a personal Land of 10,000 Quiet Frowns for a guy who was always smiling and talking in Washington.
"I think Fred was as excited to leave Minneapolis as anybody," Vikings coach Brad Childress said. "Quite frankly, I enjoy Fred Smoot. I think he has a great personality. He can keep things loose and laugh. But I'm not sure if overall he had a great experience here. Sometimes a change of scenery is good."