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Harrison Smith Expected to Play in 2016 Pro Bowl

This is a post that should’ve been written after the 2014 regular season. And though it’s overdue, it’s no less deserved. As first reported by Darren Wolfson, Harrison Smith is expected to be named to his first Pro Bowl this week. ESPN’s Ben Goessling confirmed the report, making Smith the third Minnesota Vikings player represented in this year’s all-star contest. He’ll join Adrian Peterson and Everson Griffen in Hawaii next Sunday.

Goessling reports that two league sources confirmed Smith’s selection will be made official after tonight’s NFC Championship Game. Smith finished the season with 66 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and two interceptions in 13 total games. Though he missed nearly four games with a knee injury, Smith proved invaluable to Mike Zimmer’s defense. And even if his stats weren’t as eye-popping in 2015 as they were in 2014, Smith’s greatness didn’t go unrecognized by the NFL.

Pro Football Focus, an analytics site that breaks down every NFL snap, awarded Smith the highest grade among all safeties this season. He was nearly six points better than New England’s Devin McCourty and almost seven points better than Eric Berry, the league’s Comeback Player of the Year:

In Week 16, Smith’s play against the New York Giants earned him honors for the Bridgestone Performance of the Week. His pick-six of Giants quarterback of Eli Manning — the fourth of his four-year career — helped the Vikings clinch their first playoff berth since 2012. “Harrison is a good football player,” Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said after the game, per the team’s official website. “He’s instinctive, quick-thinking, active.”

Before the season, the Vikings picked up Smith’s fifth-year option for 2016, but his recent play could earn him a multi-year deal before the end of that contract. Since the Vikings selected Smith in the first round (29th-overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft, he’s started 52 games at free safety.

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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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    1. Playing the AFC South and NFC East, the two worst divisions in football, will help get that bye. Sorry I’m beating a dead horse here but if Teddy can get a little bit better AND the offensive line returns to 2012 form, watch out NFL.
      This team reminds me of the 07 team, every piece but the passing game. Fortunately I have a lot more faith in Teddy than I did in T Jack.

  1. Well deserved, congrats Harry!! Stats proved that he should have been the first safety chosen.. #1 is #1. I hate to sound like a broken record cc, but keep the faith Vikes brother! One never knows and the future can stun, but do you not think that the Vikings are on an upward trend? I hope that Harrison is signed for an extension, the other key pieces on defense are locked up. Although it will be a sad good bye and so much appreciation for Robison and Green way it they are not resigned. I will miss Audie too as he always played with so much heart and enthusiasm. All three had a motor that did not ever shift down.. Everybody else will be back and we both know that free agency and the draft will add a ss and another lb. Offensively is where I worry the most. But a shake up on their o coaching staff is already underway. I am thinking maybe 50/50 that the Turners replaced. I am truly hoping that Teddy will prove me wrong and move the ball consistently for four quarters. And you know that pieces will be added on the o line and likely wr too. Get rid of Locke.. Your hopes for a first round bye are not whimsical in my opinion.

    1. I hope we let Greenway play for 1-2 more years as a rotational guy, then right after he retires hire him as a defensive coach. Hes a Viking through and through. As for Robison we still need him because Chricton never developed, we need atleast 3 DE to run Zimmers system.

  2. Like many teams, things look optimistic for the 2016 Vikings, but all the players and coaches aside, the biggest reason I’m optimistic is Mike Zimmer. He was not ready to be done at the end of the Seahawk game, did not consider it a moral victory, and will not rest over the offseason. Look what defense did for the Broncos this year. Vikes vs. Panthers in next year’s NFC Championship game.

    1. Very possible, just need to improve our passing game. Both QB performance and pass protection.

  3. In my my 40 years as a Vikings fan I’ve never a better safety in purple, HOF Paul Krause was really a centerfielder and could have been in Cooperstown too. Congratulations!