Free Agency

Report: Vikings Offer Mike Harris Two-Year, $3.5 Million Contract

Offensive line play is worse than ever in the NFL, making top players a premium commodity in free agency. That’s why the Minnesota Vikings are making an early effort to bring back free agent guard Mike Harris. According to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, the Vikings have offered the 27 year-old veteran a two-year, $3.5 million contract to remain with the team through 2017.

Harris was arguably the best offensive lineman in Minnesota last year, finishing the season as Pro Football Focus’s 23rd-ranked guard. He began 2015 as a reserve right tackle, but quickly made the the transition to right guard at the start of training camp. At 6’5″ and 338 pounds, Harris isn’t a natural fit at the position, but his size and strength in the trenches was critical to the success of the run game.

This offseason, he spoke to Tomasson about his desire to return to the Vikings:

[quote_box_center]“I see myself in Minnesota for the rest of my career,” Harris said. “That’s where I want to be. So hopefully we get the contract ready this weekend. I’m excited. It’s going to be a great season for the Vikings, and I want to be a part of it.”[/quote_box_center]

Originally claimed off waivers after the 2014 preseason, Harris has started 23 games for the Vikings in two seasons. He’s an above-average lineman in the NFL, and yet, Minnesota is offering him a reserve player’s contract. Spotrac lists similar figures for guards league-wide, and the proposed number puts Harris in the company of players like Alex Boone and Josh Kline.

It’s unclear why the contract offer is so low; if the team sees Harris as a reserve like Joe Berger, then all signs point to Spielman addressing the starting offensive line through free agency or the draft and keeping Harris for depth. But if Harris wants more money in 2016, he could very well test the open market on Monday.

Fortunately, that’s not something Harris wants to do, as Tomasson reports the guard is adamant about securing a deal this weekend to remain in Minnesota. Keeping Harris would solidify the line at right guard, but decisions loom on the contract situations of Phil Loadholt and Matt Kalil.

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Austin Belisle

Austin Belisle is the West Coast's biggest Vikings fan, a football diehard cheering on the purple and yellow from sunny California. After graduating from San Jose State University in 2014, he began working full-time in corporate marketing and blogging on various sports websites. Austin's passion for the Vikings led him to Vikings Territory, where he hopes to share his lifelong enthusiasm for the team with readers on a daily basis. You can follow him on Twitter @austincbelisle

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12 Comments

  1. It seems odd that they would lowball him like that. With our problems all along the O-line, this just doesn’t make sense. Gotta be more to the story.

    1. I agree Fran.Whilst it is a small increase on what he earned last year,I thought the offer would be more in the 4 – 4.5 million range.
      Maybe Spielman is just playing a bit of cat & mouse.If it wasn’t for Harris & Berger,Teddy would have got hit a lot more last year.

      1. Just my opinion, but I really would like to see them sign both Berger and Harris to multi year deals. I understand where blowfish is coming from, Harris (and Berger too) have only had one year.. Kalil played great for one year two and most seem ready to kick him out.. but Harris and Berger did not flash once during their rookie year. I think that they both have earned multi year deals. They signed Fusco to a huge deal after one year. I am thinking that Harris deserves at least half (if not equal) of what Fusco is making.

  2. I think that they have offered him his true market worth. He isn’t (yet) a starting calibre Guard, and only has one year of experience playing that position. He isn’t guaranteed the start, and will almost certainly have competition – as will several other positions across the line. By offering a two year deal, the Vikings are asking Harris to prove his worth, giving him the freedom of his next contract being worth loads more if he does…

    1. Yes, if Harris stays he is not guaranteed to start but no, I don’t think this at all reflects his “true market worth.” And a two-year “prove it” deal means he’ll be 29 when next he’s a free agent, which diminishes his worth still further. As usual, Spielman is being too clever by half with his own free agents. Let’s hope it doesn’t come back and bite us in the behind like bouncing Antoine Winfield did.

      Free agents who’ll probably be allowed to walk because they might get a shot at starting elsewhere but probably won’t here, no matter what the fans may or may not want: Robert Blanton, Josh Robinson and Audie Cole.

      A free agent who we probably shouldn’t bring back: Chad Greenway, who even at the minimum veteran salary will probably be overpriced for what he brings to the field.

  3. Good chance he will leave if that’s the final offer. He wants to stay but that’s a bit of an insult to the year he had. Pretty sure he could double that amount if he tests FA.

  4. Slow down guys… Harris is a classic NFL journey-man lineman. Vikes got him on the waiver wire 2 years ago. He is a quality backup guy that needs a perfect fit to succeed and fits well with the Vikes. Vikes like him & just as important offer a situation where he can have stability and stay put as a quality swing backup on a string of 2 and 3 year deals. He might get a little more $$ from Rick but that’s his worth. Stability and Fit are big things for waiver wire guys you can have a longer career and maybe win a Super Bowl. SKOL

  5. He was the best part of the line last year. I get nkt over paying him, but thought the offer would be higher than this. Hope something can get worked out.

    1. There is no part of the season last year where that could be said to be true. Kalil was the best Viking O-lineman prior to the toe injury, and Clemmings came on strong late in the year. Berger was the most consistent throughout the course of the season. Harris was never, EVER, the best O-lineman on the field for the Vikings.

  6. Harris wasn’t good last year. Watch the film without listening to bad commentary, and you will see this. He’s lucky to get a contract offer at all.

  7. Did the Vikings just give Sendejo 4 year/$16M???? Now that seems way too high…unless we are going to roll with him as a starter, but again, wasn’t Zimmer pretty adamant that he need to go get someone? Vikes are scaring me a little bit with their FA kickoff….

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