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Report: Vikings pursuing long-term deal with Anthony Harris

The speculation had been that they were seeking a trade

Wild Card Round - Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

When the Minnesota Vikings placed the franchise tag on safety Anthony Harris just before the start of free agency, the speculation immediately started that the team was going to attempt to trade him for a mid-round draft choice. Now, it sounds as though they’ve reversed course.

Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting that the Vikings are now actively pursuing a long-term extension for Harris.

Harris has been one of the highest-graded safeties in the National Football League over the past two seasons by Pro Football Focus, and was the #1 safety in the league this past season by their measures (his running mate, Harrison Smith, was #3 in the NFL).

Since signing with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent out of Virginia in 2015, Harris fought his way up from the practice squad to grabbing a starting role this past season. He led the NFL in interceptions this season and seemed poised to go out on the open market and get a huge payday prior to the Vikings making him just the third player in team history to receive the franchise tag.

It appears that the Vikings are going to go into this season being quite young and inexperienced at the cornerback position, given that their top three corners from 2019 (Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander) will all be wearing different uniforms in 2020. With that being the case, it would behoove the Vikings to keep the NFL’s best safety duo together to give them some continuity on the back end of the defense. A long-term deal for Harris would also likely lower his salary cap hit for 2020, which would be around $11.4 million if he were to play under the franchise tender.

We’ll be keeping an eye on this situation, and hopefully there will be some good news that develops on this front in the near future.