Just as free agency draws closer by the minute, the stock of safety Anthony Harris seems to rise.
On Saturday, Broncos safety Justin Simmons was franchise tagged by Denver.
Thus, Harris became, "the big prize" in the free-agent safety market, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported. Pelissero added Harris could command as much as $14 million per season on the open market, though that was assuming the Vikings could not clear enough space to sign him.
However, that might well have happened on Friday, as well, with the Vikings releasing veteran cornerback Xavier Rhodes, defensive lineman Linval Joseph and tight end David Morgan.
And, if the situation is right, Harris would be happy to stay in Minnesota.
"Yeah, if all things were equal — looking at the organization from a standpoint top to bottom, from the owners down to the coaches down to the locker room and the culture they have. It’s somewhere I’d definitely like to stay," Harris said recently on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "I love Minneapolis, love the organization, it’s a good city. The people there are really nice. It’s very competitive, so I mean it has it has everything I want and I’d definitely like to stay if possible."
A phenomenal coverage safety, Harris finished 2019 as the top-graded safety by Pro Football Focus with a phenomenal mark of 91.1 — just ahead of Simmons at 90.8 as the only two players at their position to end their seasons above 90.
And undrafted free agent out of Virginia, Harris, has become one of the NFL’s elite, culminating with this past season in which he was someone absent of a Pro Bowl bid. He led the league with six interceptions which were complimented by 11 passes defended and 60 tackles.
A cerebral player on top of his physical strengths, Harris, currently the No. 15 free agent in the NFL.com 101, has been a perfect fit for coach Mike Zimmer’s defense.
"He definitely requires those guys in the back end to have a lot mental gymnastics, I always like to say," Harris said. "Just being able to be really good communicators, for one, but really being able to understand what it is that we’re getting done. There’s a number of checks within the actual call, based off the formations, where people are, disguises, where you need to be. So it’s a lot of orchestrating, knowing where you fit, but also, you know, in that safety position, being a good communicator with the guys around you. Not only at corner or nickel, but also at the linebacker position, as well."
Having already established himself as a phenomenal fit for the Vikings and vice versa, the question remains whether Minnesota can fit him into their checkbook – which after Friday stands at $20.7 million, per Over the Cap.
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