Vikings linebacker Cameron Smith announced today that he will miss the season because he needs open-heart surgery to repair a congenital defect.
“I found out I need open heart surgery to fix a bicuspid aortic valve that I was born with,” Smith wrote on Instagram. “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.”
The Vikings selected Smith in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL draft. He played in five games as a rookie last year.
Although Smith did not opt out of the 2020 season before the Thursday deadline, there is a provision that allows players to opt out after the deadline if a new health diagnosis puts them at high risk. It is unknown whether Smith will seek to use that provision, which would allow him to receive a $350,000 stipend this year.