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Vikings sign veteran running back Ito Smith, get roster down to 80 players

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Atlanta Falcons running back Ito Smith (25) runs the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Atlanta. The New Orleans Saints won 21-16. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)

The Vikings signed defensive end Everson Griffen and running back Ito Smith on Monday, but still were able to get their roster to 80 players well before the deadline of 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Minnesota waived linebacker Christian Elliss and quarterback Danny Etling, while defensive tackle Jordon Scott was waived/injured and defensive end Janarius Robinson was placed on injured reserve. Scott will be placed on injured reserve if he clears waivers. Linebacker Cam Smith, who underwent open-heart surgery last August, was placed on the reserve/retired list after announcing last week he was stepping away from football.

A fourth-round pick last April out of Florida State, Robinson was injured in the Vikings’ loss Saturday against Indianapolis. He had a wrap on his leg during Monday’s practice and must miss at least the first three weeks of the regular season.

Ito Smith was a fourth-round pick out of Southern Miss by the Falcons in 2018 but was waived in April after three seasons. He rushed for 689 yards on 175 carries and six touchdowns in 35 games and also caught 55 passes for 314 yards with Atlanta.

Smith had a brief stay with the Cardinals this month before being waived last week. Smith was signed after backup running back Alexander Mattison was injured early in Saturday’s game. He was on the field Monday but did not take part in practice. Rookie Kene Nwangwu reportedly hyperextended his knee in the Vikings’ preseason opener against the Broncos and continues to sit out practice.

The Vikings’ will have to get their roster down to the regular-season limit of 53 players by 3 p.m. on Aug. 31.