"It's the game of football. It's not a passive sport," Smith said. "It's an aggressive sport played by aggressive people so that stuff happens."
Several players entered the scrum as it continued, with Jerome Simpson getting in a shove and Brian Robinson picking up Michael Jenkins and carrying him a few yards away from the action.
"It's football, so it gets competitive sometimes," Smith said.
"… After a while you kind of get sick of competing against each other and you're supposed to be teammates. You want to hit somebody but you don't really have a chance."
After 11 days of practice, that opportunity will finally come for the Vikings when they face the San Francisco 49ers Friday night.
Frazier didn't attempt to break up the shoving match, but receivers coach George Stewart and several officials on hand eventually got the players separated.
"We've had some competitive times, but we've talked at length about penalties and fights so maybe that has something to do with (the lack of fights)," Frazier said one day before Wednesday's scrum. "There's nothing wrong with a fight every now and then. We've got to control it, though."
Frazier didn't talk to reporters after Wednesday's practice, but he was asked about Smith's aggressive attitude on Tuesday.
"I saw it in our OTAs (organized team activities) and it's beginning to show up a little bit more with the pads on. We need that. We need that from him," Frazier said. "We need a physical, tough safety of his size and his range. He seems like a guy who can provide that."
While Frazier didn't seem to mind the in-practice scuffle, he didn't appear pleased to see his veteran defensive linemen, including Jared Allen and Kevin Williams, taping rookie defensive tackle Chase Baker to the goalpost after practice.
Baker was taped from neck to toe and players poured ice, Gatorade and even Pepto-Bismol over him, telling him to sing the fight song. Baker said he didn't know it.
Chase Baker gets taped up.
Tim Yotter/Viking Update
As the veterans walked away, they were asked what Baker's crime was. "He didn't do what we said," Williams said.
Frazier had a talk with Allen after Baker was released and Allen could be heard explaining that there were no punches thrown.
"I really don't want them to haze those rookies," Frazier said last week. "I remember when I was a rookie myself and I didn't like it a whole lot and I said, ‘If I ever get into a position where I can control it, I'll try to control it.' They can get them to sing their college fight songs and some certain things that we'll allow them to do, but there's a point where you don't want them to go, where it becomes a little more combative than it becomes fun and games and we don't want that."
Frazier said the worst that was asked of him was to sing his fight song.
Later in practice, when DE Nick Reed was called for encroachment, several defenders questioned the call, but no one protests louder than Sanford. "Ref, what are you looking at? Are you serious," Sanford barked.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.