Vikings' Cameron Smith Announces He'll Have Open-Heart Surgery, Miss 2020 Season

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIAugust 8, 2020

Minnesota Vikings linebacker Cameron Smith works out during rookie minicamp at the NFL football team's complex Friday, May 3, 2019, in Eagan, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Jim Mone/Associated Press

Minnesota Vikings linebacker Cameron Smith will miss the entire 2020 season and undergo open-heart surgery after a recent exam showed the 23-year-old has a serious cardiovascular condition.

Smith announced the development via his Instagram page Saturday afternoon:

"Earlier this week I found out I need open heart surgery to fix a bicuspid aortic valve that I was born with. 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. By no means am I ready to be done playing football, there is still so much more I want to accomplish on the field. Im going to attack this like everything else I have in life. Already looking forward to the comeback!"

Smith was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list July 29.

A four-year starter at Southern California, the Vikings drafted Smith in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL draft (No. 162 overall). Minnesota slowly worked him into their defense, playing the linebacker in five games during his rookie season last year where he recorded eight combined tackles.

The California native earned Second Team All-Pac-12 honors in 2016 and 2017, making it onto the First Team All-Pac-12 roster in 2017.

Smith says he isn't giving up on his football career and plans to return next season.