Just before the start of the new league year, the Minnesota Vikings used the franchise player tag for just the third time, placing the designation on safety Anthony Harris. Today, for the second time, a player that the Vikings used that tag on was not signed to a long-term deal before the start of the season.
The deadline for franchised players to work out a long-term arrangement with their team passed at 3:00 PM Central time on Wednesday afternoon. That means that Harris will play out this year on his franchise tender and be scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency again after the 2020 season.
The first time the Vikings used the franchise tag was on tight end Jim Kleinsasser in 2003. Kleinsasser wound up playing the 2003 season under his franchise tender, but did sign a long-term contract with the Vikings before the 2004 season.
The other time the Vikings used the tag was with linebacker Chad Greenway in 2011. Greenway wound up signing a five-year extension with the Vikings in September of 2011.
The franchise tag will earn Harris a salary of around $11.4 million this season. I’m not sure if it qualifies as a surprise or not that Harris and the Vikings didn’t work out something for the long term before this deadline. On the one hand, it would have given the Vikings a little more room under the salary cap to work with. On the other, there’s not a lot going on in free agency at this point anyway, so maybe the Vikings are happy with Harris where he is.
Given his age and the fact that he still appears to be ascending, Harris could very well be a part of the Vikings’ long-term plans. But, with the deadline passing today, any long-term commitment to him won’t be in the offing until 2021 at the earliest.