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In a surprising move last offseason, the Vikings gave the franchise tag to Anthony Harris.
From a performance standpoint, the move was reasonable. Harris was coming off a career year where he had six interceptions in the regular season, one in the postseason and a PFF grade of 90.5.
Even before his career year in 2019, Harris was stellar in limited reps before getting a starting safety role. However, Harris did not replicate his past success in 2020.
He tallied no interceptions, seven passes defended and a PFF grade of 66.2. Going off of basic stats, PFF or the eye test, Harris had a down year.
Now, Harris is set to become a free agent and Minnesota has another contract-related decision to make with its safety. Despite an off year, he could be looking at a valuable deal, due to his body of work.
Spotrac.com has Harris’ market value as $15.5 million, which is up from his value in February of last offseason. Not only does that seem like a pricey contract for most teams, the Vikings are strapped for cash in 2021.
What should they do?
Photo: AP Photo/Al Goldis
I think if Harris comes back for under $8 million, the Vikings could possibly make that work, assuming they would let go of other players. But if it's going to take $15.5 million, the team has too many other pressing needs to address. Harris has proven to be a very good player for the Vikings. Logistically, though, it's hard to work out a massive deal for him in order to keep the safety in Minnesota. You also have to consider the fact that the Vikings already have Harrison Smith as it stands. I think he could still get a pretty big salary from a team. If that's the case, Minnesota should try and replace him through the draft. As Mike Zimmer once said: "if you put up the positions most important on defense it's probably not going to be safety," per Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune.