Vikings waive Cameron Smith but will place him on NFI after he clears

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The Vikings waived linebacker Cameron Smith with a non-football injury designation, but the move is a procedural one.

The team announced once Smith clears waivers, the Vikings will place him on their non-football injury/illness list. It assures Smith will receive his full base salary of $675,000, a move the Vikings didn’t have to make but obviously the right one based on Smith’s circumstances.

Smith announced Saturday he will miss the 2020 season after open-heart surgery. A positive COVID-19 test on July 29 revealed a heart defect.

Smith, who appeared in five games as a rookie, said on social media he plans to play in 2021.

“We’ve talked a little bit,’’ Vikings special teams coordinator Marwan Maalouf said Monday, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “I think he’s very confident. I don’t want to speak for him as far as what he feels and stuff, but he seems like he’s in a good place. I told him if he’s around the [team facility this season], ‘Be another coach,’ because he’s a really good student of the game, a very sharp guy. I think the arrow’s up for him from a mental perspective and everything, and now he has to take care of himself.’’

Smith’s departure from the roster leaves tackle Oli Udoh as the lone Vikings player on the COVID-19 list. Tomasson reports Udoh tested positive for the coronavirus but is doing well and could come off the list as soon as Tuesday.