Bleacher Report Has Interesting Free Agency Suggestion for the Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings had a very busy offseason over this spring, letting go of a number of notable veteran contributors.
As a result, the team had very busy free agency and draft periods trying to find ways to replace all these producers on both sides of the ball. They’ve even continued to be active in free agency well into training camp.
An Interesting Free Agency Suggestion for the Vikings
With their continued activity on the market into August, Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton wrote a list of teams for the top available free agents. The free agency suggestion for Minnesota is a bit of an “outside the box” one with S Duron Harmon.
Harmon, who spent the 2022 season with the Las Vegas Raiders, had a solid campaign with the franchise. He played all 17 games for Las Vegas and made 16 starts during the course of the season. Harmon recorded 86 tackles, 5 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions, including a pick-six.
The veteran safety has had stints with the Patriots, Lions, and Falcons as well over the course of his 10-year NFL career and has 43 passes defended and 23 interceptions. His longest tenure was with the Patriots, who drafted Harmon in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
This means that Harmon spent a great portion of his career being coached by current Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores, who was in New England with Harmon from 2013-18 before being hired by the Miami Dolphins as their head coach in 2019.
The reason that this would be a bit of a strange signing by the Vikings lies in their sheer depth at safety. Of course, Harrison Smith is still around and will be a starter once again in 2023. Then, the Vikings also have Cam Bynum, Josh Metellus, 2022 first-round pick Lewis Cine, and 2023 fourth-round pick Jay Ward.
Meanwhile, Moton’s reasoning behind bringing in Harmon is largely as a security blanket while Cine continues to get his feet wet at the NFL level. Take a look at what he had to say of Minnesota’s situation at safety:
The Vikings lost a battle-tested veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson to the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency. Furthermore, 2022 first-rounder Lewis Cine may need another year before he flashes his full potential.
In Week 4 last season, Cine suffered a compound fracture in his leg, which sidelined him for the remainder of the campaign. As one would expect, he didn’t look impressive in live-game action for the first time in about 10 months.
While the Vikings shouldn’t give up on Cine, they can add a plug-and-play veteran while the young safety finds his way as a pro. Harmon makes sense for Minnesota because he’s familiar with defensive coordinator Brian Flores, who served as his position (safeties) coach between 2013 and 2015 in New England.
While the Vikings would be smart to put a safety blanket at safety next to Cine, there is an argument to be made that this is already in place in the form of Metellus.
A sixth-round pick in 2020, Metellus largely has been a special teams contributor for the team throughout his career. However, in limited opportunities, he has shown that he can fill in defensively. When Harrison Smith was battling injuries last year, Metellus made three starts, and he played wonderfully. Against the Lions in Week 3, he recorded his first career interception, and Pro Football Focus gave him grades above 80.0 in two of the three starts.
Overall, the Vikings should remain vigilant in their free agency hunt. Perhaps Kwesi Adofo-Mensah even has a trade or two in his back pocket before the regular season starts. However, safety would be a position that likely is low on the priority list at this point in time.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.