Monday, September 26, 2016

harrison smith

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Andrew Sendejo
Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

This 10-part series focuses on the biggest questions facing the Vikings as they head into Mankato for their training camp festivities. Be sure to answer the first three questions HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE. At this point, I’ll let you in on a little secret: Austin and I plan to use your voting results to formulate a Vikings 53-man roster prediction, so sharpen up your prognosticating skills!

For the second year in a row, the Vikings are among the NFL teams with the least amount of turnover on the defensive side of the football. For the most part, that is a positive thing and this defense is quickly becoming one of the league’s most feared, but there is one pesky position for which Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer have yet to find a concrete solution.

The Vikings made Harrison Smith the highest paid safety in the NFL in June, which was certainly one of their primary objectives for the offseason, and there are few arguments against the move that locks him into a purple uniform for years to come.

What fans are not feeling too giddy about, however, are the prospects of the starting spot across from Smith at strong safety. They dipped into the free agency pool for a safety, and they drafted one, but none of the available options have masses of Vikings fans jumping for joy at the moment.

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Vikings SS Michael Griffin
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings were supposed to sign George Iloka in free agency. When general manager Rick Spielman had his shot at the Bengals’ star strong safety and passed, fans groaned. “But Harrison Smith needs a star player next to him,” they said. “We can’t survive another year with Andrew Sendejo back there,” they complained.

It was a surprising turn of events for the Vikings, who used the free agency period to shore up deficiencies along the offensive line and re-sign key veterans; one of those being Sendejo. The oft-criticized, muscle-bound safety has started 26 games for the Vikings since 2013 and returned on a four-year, $16 million contract this offseason.

He joined Antone Exum and Anthony Harris on the depth chart, leaving Smith without his long-sought-after partner in crime. Spielman simultaneously addressed the scarcity at the position and raised eyebrows by signing Michael Griffin, a nine-year veteran, off the street. Griffin,  who’d spent his entire career with the Tennessee Titans, was released after the 2015 season and didn’t have a ‘home’ prior to March.

But Spielman took a chance, and now, the 31-year-old veteran has a real shot at starting opposite Smith this season. While he’s not the answer at the position, Griffin is a proven commodity with the specific skill set and experience to do two things for the Vikings: create competition at strong safety and open the playbook for the limitless Smith.

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Harrison Smith

Harrison Smith is the best kept secret in the NFL. He’s the most complete safety in the league, yet is continually over-looked for accolades and by the national media. Maybe they’ll take notice now that Dirty Harry is the highest paid (by per year average) safety after inking a 5-year, $51.25M deal with $28.578M guaranteed. Now it’s time for Harry to earn that cheddar and he seems more than ready to justify the #Faith shown by the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings.

Today’s Topics Include
• Harrison Smith Got PAID (Rightfully So)
• What’s Going On with Anthony Barr?
• Edmond Robinson Getting 1st Team Reps
• Don’t Count Out Charles Johnson Yet
• SI’s Doug Farrar Has High Praise for the Vikings Defense
• Pressure is On Trae Waynes
• Could Brandon Fusco Be Cut?
• Could This Be Kyle Rudolph’s Last Season in Purple?
• Aaron Rodgers Gave Up Cheese
#MoreThanWords Update

All that and other “Harrison Has More Equity Than Me Now” nonsense on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast.

An Andy Carlson Joint

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NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks recently released his list of the 10 most talented teams in 2016, and believe it or not, the Vikings made his top five.

Brooks ranks the teams based upon how many “blue-chip players” are on the roster, which are those regarded as “among the top players in the NFL at their respective positions.” He says “championship teams usually have around eight to 10 blue-chip players on the roster.”

Brooks lists Adrian Peterson, Kyle Rudolph, Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen, Anthony Barr, Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith as blue-chip players that should help the Vikings be one of the heavyweight contenders in the NFC.

Not only do the Vikings have a solid core of blue-chip players, but GM Rick Spielman and Head Coach Mike Zimmer are also collecting a growing list of rising young talent.

Acquiring too much talent is never a bad thing for an NFL franchise, that is as long as you’re not a player dangerously close to the 53-man cut bubble.

The Vikings’ coaching staff may need to burn some late-night oil when they begin the process of narrowing this talent-rich team down to the top 53 players. With OTA’s in full swing and the competition process ramping up for training camp, here are six prominent players who might find themselves in peril of losing their roster spots.

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Vikings Make Harrison Smith NFL's Highest Paid Safety
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Harrison Smith’s patience was finally rewarded; the Minnesota Vikings made their star defender the NFL’s highest paid safety, inking Smith to a five-year, $51.25 million contract extension. According to the team’s official website, the move was an offseason goal for general manager Rick Spielman, who has a history of retaining key draft picks.

Shortly after the announcement, the media took to Twitter to release Smith’s contract details, and the numbers were impressive. Over the next three years, Smith will make an average of $10.75 million, putting him ahead of Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas ($10 million per year).

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com was the first to break down Smith’s guaranteed money, which includes a full guarantee of $15.278 million and $28.578 million in total guarantees. The deal keeps Minnesota’s dynamic, dual-threat safety in Purple and Gold through the 2021 season.

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