Vikings safety Anthony Harris could be trade candidate


The Minnesota Vikings made a surprising move to use the franchise tag on safety Anthony Harris, who appeared to be headed to a big payday as the top safety hitting the market.

It turns out, the tag could just be a short-term placeholder to get the Vikings a modicum of return for losing the rising safety.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday morning that the Vikings have signaled to teams that Harris could be had for a mid-to-late round draft pick, per a source informed of the situation.

Last season we saw a trio of tag-and-trade defenders moved and paid. Those were premium pass rushers, however. How much would a team give up knowing they'd have to also hand Harris, a safety, a big contract like the one he likely would have gotten had he reached the open market?

Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman could be simply looking to get a potential compensatory pick he would have received in 2021 for losing Harris in free agency a year early.

It's a savvy move if Minnesota pulls it off by getting good compensation in return. And if not, they keep a young player who morphed from undrafted free agent to stud.

Harris was probably the most underrated player set to enter free agency. A rangy safety who closes on receivers with like a bullet train, the 28-year-old always seems to be around the ball. In his first season as a full-time starter, Harris compiled 60 tackles, 11 passes defended, and six interceptions in 14 games. He was a difference-maker on the back-end of a playoff defense.

Harris is a very good player, but several safeties have struggled to get paid on a seemingly stagnant market for years. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said at the combine that "if you put up the positions most important on defense it's probably not going to be safety." How much a team is willing to trade for Harris' services would underscore how pervasive that belief is throughout front offices.

As players exit free agency one after another, the tag-and-trade market could open up. The Vikings want other clubs to know Harris could be had for the right price.