One of the lingering mysteries surrounding the Minnesota Vikings’ offseason has been revealed.
Security Harrison Smith is not going anywhere and will return to the club in 2023 despite persistent questions about his future. Smith turned 34 last month.
The mystery of Harrison Smith is solved
Smith was slated to take the third-biggest hit on the team’s books in 2023, at about $19.1 million, an amount some see as too much for aging security. So Vikings fans and the media spent nearly two months debating and speculating about Smith’s next moves, culminating in Thursday’s announcement.
NFL Network Ian Rapoport tweeted“Vikings and St. Harrison Smith has agreed to a restructured contract to stay in Minnesota and is getting $8 million with $2 million in bonuses for 2023.
Cutting the salary to $8 million is substantial and unlike Smith’s 2022 rebuild, where money was simply moved around. He’s now one of the few Vikings big names taking a decent pay cut to stay with the franchise.
Smith has been a member of the Vikings since 2012 and is the longest tenured player on the roster. Most fans thought Smith would be “safe” when Minnesota started cutting the roster, as his skillset should fit perfectly in Brian Flores’ new defense. But the problem was the price, which Smith and the Minnesota front office have successfully mitigated.
This situation was poignant, however, because VikingsWire Judd Zulgad tweeted last week“New scoop back Darren Wolfson will be posted today SKOR North – The leading Vikings note was that as of midday, the trend seemed to be toward releasing Harrison Smith. As Dougie said, it’s very fluid and there have been ongoing negotiations, but the Vikings’ money is not in play.”
In the end, the parties reached an agreement and Smith will not hit the open market.
Smith was the NFL’s 37th-best safety in 2022, according to Pro Football Focus:, but the Vikings defense often looked disorganized without him. And when Lewis Cine was injured for the season in early October, Minnesota would be in peanuts without Smith on the depth chart. Now that the aforementioned Flores is at the helm, Smith will have free reign in the Vikings secondary, likely to be used more often as a pass rusher to match Flores’ aggressive style of play.
After all, the Vikings wanted Smith back, and he wants to return for a 12th season. The price tag was congestion. Other players, like Za’Darius Smith, openly announced exit strategies last week. decision on that Smith should be announced within the next day.
Smith leads all NFL safeties in sacks since turning pro in 2012 and is second in sacks by the same mark.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube channel, VikesNow:. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday Raun Sauh and: Sal Spice:. His Viking obsession dates back to 1996. Guilty pleasures mentioned: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, The Sopranos and The Doors (band).
All statistics are provided Pro Football Reference / Stathead:; All contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.