Harrison Smith Did the Thing

Image Courtesy of Harrison Smith on Instagram.

Cue your Wolf of Wall Street memes and GIFs. He ain’t leavin’.

Harrison Smith Did the Thing

Harrison Smith decided Wednesday to remain with the Minnesota Vikings in 2024, called a “last ride” by some fans, and a 13th season in the NFL and the Vikings specifically.

harrison smith
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Many wondered for the last two months if Smith would retire, join another team, or accept a paycut. In the end, he chose the latter, agreeing to a restructured contract that will pay him $9 million next season. The Athletic‘s Alec Lewis tweeted the news, “The Vikings have agreed to a restructured contract with safety Harrison Smith, source says. He’ll remain with the only team he’s ever known. Beloved.”

Lewis followed the tweet: “Harrison Smith’s new contract is worth $9 million, source says. His teammates already reacting excitedly, too. Not a more well-regarded dude in that locker room.”

Image Courtesy of Vikings.com. Strong safety Harrison Smith shown wearting the Minnesota Vikings new alternate uniforms on July 18, 2023, via stream event. Minnesota will wear the uniforms on September 10th, 2023, at home versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Smith will resume starter’s duties in 2024 — barring something weird — in a safety room consisting of Josh Metellus, Camryn Bynum, Lewis Cine, Jay Ward, and Theo Jackson. It’s a full house at safety for the Vikings.

Minnesota’s defense ranked 24th per DVOA in 2022 under Ed Donatell and improved mightily in 2023 under Brian Flores — to the tune of 11th-best in the NFL. With new free-agent defenders Jonathan Greenard, Andrew Van Ginkel, and Blake Cashman, along with Jonathan Bullard’s and Smith’s return to the depth chart and more help on the way, Flores could nudge the Vikings’ defense into the Top 10.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings-Press Conference
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Since joining the NFL in 2012, Smith ranks first among all defensive backs in tackles, first in QB hits, first in interceptions, second in sacks, and second in tackles for loss. He also experienced the new aforementioned defensive coordinator in Flores, which he seemed to enjoy to the utmost.

The Vikings allowed Kirk Cousins to hit free agency earlier this week, and he promptly signed with the Atlanta Falcons. Vikings fans wondered if Smith would have the patience for a presumptive rookie quarterback or if he’d head elsewhere, perhaps to a Super Bowl-contending team. The answer was yes, Smith has the patience.

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Smith said about his future two months ago, “I’ve been at peace for a while. When I was a kid, I never thought I’d play in the NFL. To have a career I’ve had to this point, it’s pretty cool. Got to play with a lot of great people, a lot of great players and coaches. Lot of struggle, a lot of ups and downs. It’s kind of what makes it so fun, too. Sorry I don’t have anymore info.”

When the dust settled, the man wanted back in.

Perhaps he’ll fire up a couple more highlights like this in 2024:

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.