Yesterday, we talked about the Minnesota Vikings moving a couple of players onto different lists before the first practice of this year’s Training Camp. One of those players was offensive lineman Mike Harris, who was placed on the Non-Football Injury List with what was later revealed to be some sort of "head injury."
Harris, who might have been the Vikings’ second-best offensive lineman in 2015 after starting all 16 games at right guard, was brought back on a one-year deal during free agency and was going to be part of what was supposed to be a robust offensive line competition in Minnesota. Now, according to Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Harris doesn’t know when he’s going to be back. . .and he might not be back in 2016 at all.
Mike Harris won't disclose details about his medical issue. Asked if he will be able to play this season, he said he wasn't sure. #Vikings— Matt Vensel (@mattvensel) July 30, 2016
Vensel’s fellow Star-Tribune reporter, Andrew Krammer, is reporting that Harris’ issue started back in June. He started the team’s offseason program healthy, but wound up being sidelined before things were completed. According to Krammer’s story, Harris is apparently referring to the issue as a "little" head injury. Frankly, I’m not sure what to read into that, if anything.
If Harris were to end up missing the entire 2016 season, it would bring up an issue that I, unfortunately, neglected to touch on when I outlined the differences between the PUP List and the NFI list yesterday. I discovered this in a story about New York Giants’ defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul after his incident last year, and there’s a section from the Collective Bargaining Agreement that could come into play here.
(b) A player on N-F/I who is in the final year of his contract (including an option year) will have his contract tolled. However, if the player is physically able to perform his football services on or before the sixth regular season game, the club must pay the player his negotiated Paragraph 5 Salary (pro rata) for the balance of the season in order to toll such player's contract. If such player is taken off N-F/I during the period when such action is allowed by League rules, his contract will not be tolled.
In this case, "tolled" means that the contract would be rolled over into the following season. Unless I’m misinterpreting things, that means that if Harris is on a one-year deal and he doesn’t play at all in 2016, he would then automatically be under contract to the Vikings for 2017.
The most important thing, however, is that Mike Harris gets himself right somehow. Hopefully his setback is as "little" as he thinks it is.