Yet Another LSU Prospect Meets with the Vikings before the 2024 NFL Draft

Sep 4, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Louisiana State Tigers defensive tackle Maason Smith (0) celebrates a play during the first half against the Florida State Seminoles at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

When Maason Smith committed to LSU back in 2021, he was one of the most sought-after high school recruits in the country.

Smith was listed as a five-star recruit and the No. 1 player in the state of Louisiana. Since then, the hype for the defensive tackle has steadily decreased for a number of reasons, but the LSU prospect has become one of the more popular NFL Draft prospects in terms of top 30 visits.

The defensive tackle visited with nearly half of the NFL teams ahead of this year’s draft, and on Thursday morning, it was reported that one of those visits was with the Minnesota Vikings.

Another LSU Prospect Visits the Vikings

LSU Prospect
Nov 4, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Kendrick Law (19) is tackled by LSU Tigers defensive tackle Maason Smith (0) and safety Sage Ryan (15) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama defeated LSU 42-28. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Melo of The Draft Network was on the news, tweeting, “DT Maason Smith is in high demand. After dominant Combine/Pro Day showings, Smith had 12+ visits! #Saints, #Bengals, #Steelers, #Jets, #Giants, #Vikings, #Packers, #Bills, #Panthers, #Cardinals etc.”

During Melo’s interview with Smith (posted on TDN), the defensive tackle alluded to the idea that he had even more visits lined up at that time, so the list could be even more expansive than the one written above. It should be noted that Smith said during the interview that he traveled to Minnesota, meaning his visit with the Vikings would indeed qualify as a “top 30” visit.

In terms of Smith as a prospect, he certainly is one of the more intriguing defensive tackles, particularly when it comes to the second or third days of the draft, so it makes sense that so many teams want to get to know him a bit more.

Feb 29, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Louisiana State defensive lineman Maason Smith (DL24) works out during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Smith’s freshman season at LSU was outstanding. He piled up 19 tackles, five tackles for loss, and four sacks over seven games for the Tigers, fully living up to his hype as a five-star recruit. He was named a freshman All-American as a result.

However, before Smith got a chance to build off that strong 2021 season, his 2022 campaign was derailed before it could truly start. During LSU’s Week 1 game against Florida State, the defensive tackle suffered a torn ACL while celebrating a defensive stop. He leapt up into the air and came down awkwardly on his left leg.

As a result, Smith missed the remainder of the 2022 season. Adding insult to the injury, his return in 2023 was delayed because of a one-game suspension for signing autographs back in 2021. He never truly got back to his 2021 form during the 2023 season, either. He put together 28 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks over 12 games.

In the end, though, Smith has all the physical tools as an NFL prospect. He is a massive player at 6’5″ and 301 pounds with 35-inch arms, allowing him to use his length and strong hands to create leverage in the trenches.

Oct 14, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers defensive tackle Maason Smith (0) pressures Auburn Tigers quarterback Payton Thorne (1) during the second quarter at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive tackle almost assuredly will be a position that the Vikings target in the 2024 NFL Draft. On top of that, LSU has been one of the more popular programs for Minnesota over the past few drafts. Could those two ingredients result in Smith heading to the Vikings next weekend?

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Sports Reference CFB.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.