Teddy Bridgewater’s knee. Joe Mauer’s legs. Sharrif Floyd’s knee. Injury situations in Minnesota in recent years have often been shrouded in mystery until something, an interview or a new discovery, comes to light.
That’s now the case for a former Minnesota Vikings player.
Guard Mike Harris was expected to be a starting guard for the Minnesota Vikings in 2016. Then, suddenly, he wasn’t. He was put on the NFI list and faded into the background as the Vikings struggled through the ownership of one of the worst offensive lines in NFL history.
Information trickled out only slowly. Basically all we knew was that he was dealing with some kind of brain issue and that neither he nor the team was talking.
That is, until today.
Mike Zimmer’s Favorite Reporter in the World has a story that just recently went live on the Pioneer Press website that is the first interview with Harris since he vanished off the face of the Earth.
What was wrong with him?
A congenital condition known as brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM). This condition is described as “a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain.” Even stranger, it apparently had nothing to do with his play in the NFL.
“It was totally non-football related,” Harris said. “It was like a malformation. They did a CT scan and they found it.”
More from the article:
It was a typical day during OTAs in June 2016, and Vikings guard Mike Harris was battling to keep his starting job. Following a practice, he returned to his home in Eden Prairie to study his iPad.
Suddenly, everything changed for Harris.
“I felt like I was having a stroke,” Harris said Tuesday. “I got home and I just remember being on my iPad and my vision went blurry, went double. I couldn’t see.”
A friend brought Harris to Winter Park and the Vikings checked him over, thinking he was dealing with a concussion, then sent him to the Mayo Clinic to get checked out, where he was given his diagnosis.
Vision issues plagued Harris for a few weeks after the specific incident but he never had to be hospitalized for his symptoms.
The Vikings ended up waiving Harris in February and he was hoping to catch on with another team until a follow-up visit to the Mayo Clinic suggested it would not be wise for him to play again. Harris had hoped to play again with the Vikings, but instead his career was abruptly over.
Harris announces in the article that he will be filing retirement papers with the NFL next month.
Thankfully, the article says that Harris will be able to lead a normal life from now on. He just has to have a 20-minute laser procedure to remove scar tissue at the location of this issue at the Mayo Clinic in about a month and there’s only a 5% chance of this condition recurring.
It’s nice to finally have some closure with regards to Harris, and knowing that he isn’t dealing with anything as serious as brain cancer. I believe I speak for the Daily Norseman staff when I wish Harris good luck with his future endeavors and will remember him fondly for his play in 2015 when he helped win us a division title.