Vikings’ Cameron Smith feels he hasn’t missed a beat in return from open-heart surgery

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Plenty of players taking part in this week’s organized team activities around the league are returning from season-ending surgeries, but Vikings linebacker Cameron Smith still stands out.

Smith had open-heart surgery last August to correct a congenital heart defect that doctors discovered while doing tests on Smith after he tested positive for COVID-19. Smith notes “how weird it it is to say Covid essentially saved my life,” but the surgery did keep him from playing at all last year.

The Vikings kept Smith in the organization and he said this week that being around his teammates “kept me mentally sane” while he recovered from the surgery. Smith returned to the field for this week’s OTAs and he said he felt like he picked up where he left off.

“It was interesting because leading up to this, I was unsure what the feeling was going to be like,” Smith said, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “I was excited to feel that again, but when it came down to running out there, it felt like I hadn’t missed a beat. It just felt like almost home again.”

Smith was a fifth-round choice in 2019 and had eight tackles in five games during his rookie season.