Today, four days before the start of the “legal tampering” period of NFL free agency, the Minnesota Vikings have made their first signing.
According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Vikings have extended a one-year, $705,000 tender offer to Exclusive Rights Free Agent safety Anthony Harris, and he will sign the deal to return to the Vikings.
What’s an Exclusive Rights Free Agent, you might ask? Over the Cap has an explanation.
These are the players with 2 or less seasons in the league, a status reserved almost solely for undrafted rookie type players. Once tendered they can only negotiate with their former team. The tender offer is only a one year non-guaranteed contract at the minimum salary level so most teams would use the ERFA designation on players who were on the roster late in the prior year and signed to a 1 year deal. Usually these offers are signed as soon as they are made since nothing is gained by waiting.
Harris was an undrafted free agent that the Vikings signed in 2015, and after spending some time on the team’s practice squad, he has appeared in 36 games over his three seasons in Minnesota. He got three starts this season in place of Andrew Sendejo, and made one of the bigger defensive plays of the year for the Vikings against the Los Angeles Rams. In that game, Harris forced Rams’ receiver Cooper Kupp to fumble at the 1-yard line as he was going in for a touchdown, and the Vikings recovered the fumble to keep the Rams off the board.
Harris is a guy that I’ve always thought could be a solid starter given the opportunity. I don’t know if he’s going to get his opportunity to be a full-time guy any time soon, but he’s shown enough over the past few seasons to lead me to believe he’d be good enough if Sendejo missed an extended stretch of time. He’s also been a pretty good special teamer, and you can’t have too many of those.
So, congratulations to Anthony Harris on his return to Minnesota. He really couldn’t have gone anywhere else, but it’s nice to see him back anyway.