Skip to main content

Minnesota Vikings running back Onterrio Smith picked a strange way to effectively end his career.

Before the Vikings drafted Adrian Peterson in 2007, the team understandably wanted a true franchise running back. In 2003, the Vikings used a fourth-round pick on Smith, a star running back from Oregon.

Things started out well for Smith, who could have been the Minnesota Vikings‘ next great running back. Then, the Whizzinator incident happened.

Onterrio Smith played two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings

A top running back prospect from Sacramento, Calif., Onterrio Smith began his college career at Tennessee. Originally playing alongside future Ravens star Jamal Lewis in the Volunteers’ backfield, Smith later transferred to Oregon.

The change of pace brought upon by a dismissal worked out for Smith. He ran for 2,199 yards and 19 touchdowns in two seasons with the Ducks.

The Vikings saw enough of Smith that they felt comfortable investing a fourth-round pick on him. Smith famously shaved hte letters “S.O.D.”, or “Steal of the Draft,” into his head.

Smith totaled 579 yards and five touchdowns on 5.4 yards per carry as a rookie in 2003. A year later, he ran for 544 yards and two touchdowns; Smith’s yards per attempt dropped to 4.4, which was still a fine average.

All seemed well for Smith and the Vikings. That is, before Smith took a visit to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport in May 2005.

Smith was caught with a Whizzinator

The NFL is inconsistent on many things. Drug tests, and making sure players know the rules and consequences, is not one of those things.

That truth is why Onterrio Smith took it into his hands to make sure he passed every drug test. But rather than pass them the legitimate way, Smith had a different idea.

Smith was detained at the airport with several vials of dried urine and a device called the Whizzinator. The Whizzinator — or, as it was officially known, The Original Whizzinator, contained prosthetics that could allow someone to beat a drug test.

Smith claimed the kit was for his cousin, according to ESPN. The NFL couldn’t suspend Smith for possessing the device.

They could suspend him, however, for violating league policy. Smith had already missed four games in 2004 after a positive drug test for using marijuana.

A third failed drug test in the spring of 2005 earned Smith a year-long suspension.

What happened to Onterrio Smith?

Onterrio Smith could have returned to the Minnesota Vikings in 2006. New head coach Brad Childress instead released him that spring.

Smith signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers a couple of weeks later, but never played in the CFL. He reportedly arrived at training camp 20 pounds over his playing weight before hurting his foot the first day of practice.

That was it for Onterrio Smith. He appealed for reinstatement in 2007 but never played in the NFL again.

Smith’s release indirectly set the stage for Adrian Peterson’s arrival in 2007. Minnesota still needed a franchise running back when the Vikings used the seventh overall pick on Peterson that year.

As for Smith, he’s spent retirement sharing pictures of his family on Istagram. There’s been no sign of the Whizzinator, though.