7 Landing Spots for Harrison Smith — If He Leaves Vikings

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Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith may retire, accept a paycut, or be released this offseason.

7 Landing Spots for Harrison Smith — If He Leaves Vikings

Those are the stakes, and Vikings fans should learn a Smith verdict in the next couple of weeks.

So, consider these teams his top seven landing spots for 2024 if he leaves the Vikings. They’re ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = most likely landing spot).

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Harrison Smith
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Tampa Bay will retain Antoine Winfield Sr. — the guy Vikings fans wanted from free agency — after applying the franchise tag, but after him on the roster at safety, it’s Kaevon Merriweather. The Buccaneers could roll with Merriweather or re-sign Ryan Neal, otherwise, they’ll need a safety.

On the Buccaneers’ coaching staff is George Edwards, who worked with Smith for six seasons in Minnesota.

6. Philadelphia Eagles

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Yuck, huh?

Roy Anderson is on Nick Sirianni’s staff, and he coached Smith from 2020-2022 with the Vikings. And outside of the Vikings-Eagles mini-rivalry, Smith’s presence on Phildalephia’s 2024 roster actually checks out. He could experience snaps alongside safeties Reed Blankenship and Sydney Brown, defenders who aren’t humongously big names. The Eagles would also provide Smith a chance to chase a ring.

5. Seattle Seahawks

Head Coach Finally
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Seahawks employ Leslie Frazier as assistant head coach and Karl Scott as defensive backs coach. Both have ties to Smith from the Vikings of yesteryear. Smith could snuggle in as a depth safety behind Coby Bryant — the football version — and Julian Love.

The only hindrance is that Seattle may not be a Super Bowl contender.

4. San Francisco 49ers

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Talanoa Hufanga is the only starting safety on the 49ers’ roster heading into free agency. And make no mistake: San Francisco will proceed this offseason as if they’re Super Bowl contenders once again.

Everybody thought the 49ers’ defense was all-world in 2023, but it actually collapsed down the stretch of the season, ranking 23rd per EPA/Play from Weeks 12-18. That’s why Steve Wilks was jettisoned. Smith could provide the 49ers’ defense with depth and allow him to pursue a championship.

3. Buffalo Bills

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Most of the veteran beef on the Bills’ defense departed this week, cap casualties as Buffalo attempts to rebuild on the fly.

Like Stefon Diggs four years ago, Smith could join the Bills, hoping their roster turnaround is swift. Taylor Rapp is the only startable Bills safety under contract heading into next week. Buffalo could onboard Smith at a low cost.

2. Atlanta Falcons

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Maybe Smith will follow Kirk Cousins to Atlanta if the Vikings QB1 indeed heads there Monday or Tuesday?

Jerry Gray is the Falcons’ assistant head coach, and like George Edwards, Smith and Gray worked together for six seasons in Minnesota. Atlanta’s current strong safety is DeMarcoo Hellams, a 7th-Rounder from last year’s draft. Smith might be an upgrade for 2024.

Smith was also born about two hours from the Falcons’ stadium.

1. Dallas Cowboys

Mike Zimmer Press Conference | Dallas Cowboys 2024. Zimmer took over as the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive coordinator in February 2024 when Dan Quinn accepted a head coaching job with the Washington Commanders. Zimmer coached the Vikings from 2014 to 2021.

Mike. Zimmer. That’s all you need to know.

Smith and Zimmer were attached at the hip for eight seasons, and now Zimmer is in charge of the Cowboys’ defense indefinitely. Dallas will call itself a Super Bowl contender in 2024 but probably lose before the NFC Championship.

Still, the fit makes sense, and Smith could replace former Viking Jayron Kearse, a free agent.

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.