It was just reported that the Minnesota Vikings (and Detroit Lions) made a strong push for strong safety Will Parks, which could be very telling regarding their plans for the other strong safety in the room, Anthony Harris. Harris, who was one of the biggest break out players in the NFL in 2019, has had a roller coaster of a ride of an off-season, going from being franchised, to being linked to different teams in trade rumors, to saying that he’d “… love to stay in Minnesota on a long-term deal”
Many in the fan community have debated whether or not trading Harris makes sense, as they could’ve theoretically let him walk at the start of free agency a la Trae Waynes or Mackenzie Alexander and potentially have received a third-round compensatory draft pick in the 2021 draft. Although that’s not a guarantee as the algorithm that the NFL uses to determine which teams get which of the finite number of picks is a closely guarded secret for some reason. It’s not the recipe for Coca-Cola, I doubt anyone out there is chomping at the bit to learn how the NFL determines it’s compensatory draft picks. Outside of stat-heads like the opposite of me.
With trade rumors (mainly with the Cleveland Browns) putting Harris’ trade value at or slightly above that third-round pick (with some saying that the Vikings want a second-rounder for Harris), it does make you wonder why the team went through the drama of franchising Harris in the first place, especially if they end up getting a third-rounder this off-season as opposed to next (that’s also assuming that the trade would be for a draft pick this off-season.
As you can see, it’s a lot to keep track of.
It’s also hard to really know what we may have learned from this move (or near move).
Was it done in case the Vikings couldn’t attract any other strong safety to the organization this off-season? With the team either cutting or losing to free agency an amazing amount of players by any standard, but especially when you compare it to the equally amazing amount of continuity this team and defense has had under head coach Mike Zimmer, it isn’t hard to imagine that the team has reached its limit in terms of the open positions that they’ll need to fill this off-season.
Was it done to semi-replace Jayron Kearse? While he isn’t the beast that Kearse is, size-wise, he has shown the ability be a similar Jack-of-All/Three-Trades by being a flex safety who can be both strong and free, like a beautiful majestic stallion roaming the wilds of Wyoming like…
and nickel back like…
While the latter might make more sense, as one player can’t play everywhere, this move really just raises more questions than it answers. For those of you scoffing at the idea that the team would replace Harris with Parks, and that he’s obviously a depth move… I don’t think you understand what is happening with this team right now.
That also raises the question as to why they’re spending time tendering offers to the safety position that they already have a pretty great player… You know… UNDER A FRANCHISE TAG. Although, I guess if you’re going to rebuild a defense but you still want to have some stopgaps/firewalls in place should some of the lower-cost players you want not want to sign with you, it’s hard to criticize that move (I mean, there’s a lot to criticize here, but if that’s what is going on, it’s one of the lesser of many evils that’s going on around here). But I don’t think that’s what it is, as, again, it’s been widely reported that the Vikings have put Harris out on the trade block recently.
The other talker that comes from the fact that Parks turned down the Vikings is that… Parks turned down the Vikings. After over half-a-decade in which the Vikings have been a destination for free agents (sort of the anti-Timberwolves), it’s just the cherry on top of the crap sundae to hear that a guy like Parks would choose the Eagles over the Vikings, A, and B, do so for less money (and perhaps a shorter term deal).
Sources says North Philly’s Will Parks turned down more $$ from Vikings and Lions to come home and play for Eagles and possibly more playing time with Eagles playing a lot of 3 safety sets#Eagles pic.twitter.com/o0XVruUWoz
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) March 21, 2020
Now, there’s also the angle of playing time which may signal that the Vikings intend(ed) to keep Harris all along and the fact that he chose the Eagles means he knew he wouldn’t have any playing time here. That’d mean that I just wasted your and my time bitching about scenarios that only exist in my head. Wouldn’t be the first time, but you have to cut me some slack as my eyes are swollen shut from weeping profusely about the state of my favorite squad. Or, the Eagles could’ve been able to guarantee Parks more playing time where as the Vikings don’t yet have an opening at strong safety.
I just want to reinforce that articles like the one linked above, (that stated that Harris WOULD like to stay in Minnesota and was posted under 24 hours ago) as well as the trade news/rumors, mean that there’s zero guarantee that Harris is going to return to Minnesota. Although, it’s nice to hear that a Vikings player wants to stay in Minnesota after especially Mackenzie Alexander (and Jayron Kearse) seemed to really dislike being here.
Either way, the bad news continues for the Vikings (not that this would’ve been great news, but it would’ve been news that wasn’t bad for a change, which is really all we can ask for at this point).
It’s gonna be a long off-season/next few seasons. Or at least, it feels like it.