Today, the Minnesota Vikings and Harrison Smith finally reached a deal that would pay him $51.25 mil over the next five years, and he will get a $10 mil signing bonus with also $28.578 mil guaranteed, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The three-year average of his new contract comes out to $10.75 mil. This was the Vikings top priority entering the season, and now they can focus on football.
Now, with Smith setting the bar on how much safeties will get paid, we will all soon see Eric Berry and Tyrann Mathieu get new deals close to Smith. The Notre Dame product is now the highest paid safety in the league.
Interestingly, Vikings GM Rick Spielman called Smith one of the “better safeties” in the league earlier this past season and Smith answered to those words, as he was ranked the best safety in the league out of 88 qualified players at the safety position, according to Pro Football Focus. The 27-year-old safety was voted to his first Pro Bowl and his amazing play also led him to making the All-Pro First Team in back-to-back seasons. To go along with all of those accolades, Smith was ranked in PFF’s top ten in the pass coverage, run stopping, and pass rushing departments.
In addition, the centerpiece of the defense played and started only 13 games, but finished the 2015 season with 66 tackles, 1.5 sacks, two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), one forced fumble, and three pass deflections. After this season, his career stats come out to 320 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, and he is a true ball hawk, as he has intercepted the ball 12 times, plus he has 26 pass deflections and three forced fumbles. The Georgia native scored four touchdowns in his career. Expect the best now, as he is getting paid as the best in the league and now he is getting better into the prime of his career.
Finally, Harrison Smith is the leader of Mike Zimmer’s defense or as we know as the quarterback of the defense. This was so far Mike Zimmer’s best defense in his young Minnesota tenure and they will look to raise havoc once again. Spielman and Zimmer have built a dominant defense that finished 12th against the pass by just surrendering 234.9 yards in the air and only allowed 109 rushing yards per game. The secondary was established as one of the most brutal run-stopping units in the league.