Friday, May 22, 2015
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harrison smith

According to Chris Tomasson, the Vikings will pick up the fifth-year options for both Harrison Smith and Matt Kalil. GM Rick Spielman implied earlier that the 2012 draft picks would be re-signed for 2016, but the team made it official Monday morning.

Smith, drafted No. 29 overall, will bring in a $5.2 million paycheck; Kalil will make $11.096 million as a No. 4 overall pick.

No questions existed about Smith remaining in Minnesota, as he is arguably the top safety on the team and a no-brainer to keep around. In his first three seasons in purple, Smith tallied 192 tackles, 62 assists and 10 interceptions. He also added three sacks in 2014.

Smith played in all 16 games last season; if he stay healthy moving forward, he will continue to play a huge role for the Vikings’ secondary. Tomasson reported that the Vikings plan to work out a longer-term contract with Smith prior to the regular season. Smith has been vocal about wanting to stay with Minnesota, which is great news for fans.

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Only a few days remain until the 2015 NFL Draft, so looking ahead to the 2016 free agency situation seems incredibly far away. It’s worth being aware of, however, because the Vikings have 23 players entering the final year of their contract this season.

On top of those 23, keep this in mind: 2012 first-round pick Harrison Smith has a fifth-year option in his contract, which gives the Vikings another 16 games to make any long-term decisions. According to ESPN, GM Rick Spielman has until May 3 to decide on the extra year. It seems safe to say at this point, however, that Spielman will go to lengths to keep Smith in purple, and it could be costly. The safety’s current deal is worth $7.14 million.

There will be a lot of decisions to be made regarding re-signing, restructuring, or saying “good-bye” to lots of roster members, so let’s see who will be free agents prior to the 2016 season:

OFFENSE

DEFENSE

SPECIAL TEAMS

*will be a restricted free agent

Let’s take a look at a few of the more notable players on this list…

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This week’s Vikings Fan Spotlight is Part II of a 3-segment series. I had such an amazing response on Twitter from Vikings fans all over the world, and I decided to break this feature into three separate parts. 

Kristian L. G. Nielsen – Havdrup, Denmark – @klgn

kristianQ: How did you first become a Vikings fan?
A: This a bit funny, actually. In the early 90’s a lot of the kids at my school bought NFL caps. I bought one as well. The first one was actually a Giants cap, but it broke. The next one I bought was a Vikings cap, it was a grey one. I got teased a bit at school, because the Raiders were the popular team. Back then NFL was only shown in a weekly highlight show, and I must admit I didn’t watch it. Actually thought it was a weird sport. I watched a lot of soccer instead. Soccer is the most popular sport over here. As every Vikings fan know Atlanta made it to the Super Bowl in 1999, and the Falcons kicker at that time, Morten Andersen, is Danish, so that Super Bowl was broadcast back here and was the beginning of NFL being broadcast over here live every kristian2Sunday. […] I have a tough time watching a sport and not cheering for a specific team, and since I still had (and have) my grey Vikings cap, the choice was easy for me. I don’t know at what spcific date it happened, but I would probably say the Vikings @ Packers playoff game in 2005 where Moss mooned at Lambeau is the first one I remember cheering vividly for the Vikings. […] Before we had kids I would watch every game live, I would even go to bed early, set an alarm and get up at 2.30 AM to watch the late night games. Now I’ll have to catch those games OnDemand instead. I also listen to a lot of the Minnesota sports radio stations […] and love listening to fan podcasts and discussing Vikings stuff on twitter. I’m spending way too much time being a Vikings fan, but once you’re hooked you can’t get rid of it.

Q: Who is your favorite player on the current Vikings roster?
A: This is a tough one. A year ago I would have said Adrian Peterson, but now it’s a bit tougher. I’m going to go with John Sullivan. He seems like a great dude, and I love listening to him on various radio shows. He’s very articulate and the insights he gives are very good, I think.

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Which Defensive Player will Have the Most Standout Season for the Vikings in 2015?

Andy: Sharrif Floyd 
He won’t standout the most on the stat sheet, but I think he’s in line for a very productive junior season for the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings. We’ve seen flashes of brilliance his first two campaigns, but I think 2015 is where he’ll consistently become that disruptive force of nature that Mike Zimmer can hang his hat on in the middle.

Brent: Harrison Smith
Smith is coming off an excellent 2014 in which he was the 2nd-ranked safety by PFF standards. His versatility is important to Zimmer’s defense, and I think they’ll get even more creative with how they use Smith in 2015. Not only does Smith move around a lot, he’s also the last line of defense over the top of the secondary. Trusting Smith to be right deep down field allows the Vikings to be aggressive with their front seven. There are plenty of arguments for Anthony Barr and Everson Griffen—hell, throw Xavier Rhodes’ name into the ring as well. At the end of the day, I think Smith’s involvement in stopping both the run and pass gives him the most opportunity to make plays and have an impact.

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