Safety Anthony Harris Signs Franchise Tender with the Vikings

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Madelyn Burke: Vikings Safety Anthony Harris announced Sunday he has signed his franchise tender, though his agents and the team will reportedly continue to work on a long term extension. Joining me now is SI's Vikings reporter Will Ragatz, and Will - Harris is coming off a breakout 2019 season, he recorded 60 tackles and he tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions. This is a guy who's a former undrafted free agent who had kind of a rocky off-season. And in terms of what was going to happen next, can we talk about how the Vikings landed on the franchise tag here?

Will Ragatz: Yeah. It was surprising that they landed on the franchise tag. It is something they've only done three times in franchise history now. And initially, Harris was set to command a big payday and free agency after his breakout season. Somewhere in the likes of $13-14 million per year on a long term deal. The Vikings end up, surprisingly, using the franchise tag on him. Then there were reports that they were still looking to trade him. Perhaps talks with the Browns and Giants among other teams, but those never materialized. So Harris is still here, and since then, the two sides have been working towards a long-term deal. There's been no reported real traction, but Harris has now signed the tender, so he'll be with the Vikings in 2020 at least.

Madelyn Burke: And of course, Harris wasn't obligated to sign this tender. Do you think, you know, you mentioned there's not real traction, but you think it is likely that we will see a long term deal before this July 15th deadline?

Will Ragatz: Well, it's hard to tell. Earlier in the offseason, Mike Zimmer said that if you look at the positions that are most important on defense, it's probably not going to be safety. So that's why it seemed like the Vikings were potentially preparing to let Harris walk. They already have a highly paid safety in Harrison Smith, who has been one of the best players of the decade at the position. If they were to sign Harris to a long-term deal, they'd be spending roughly an eighth of the cap, about twenty five million on two safeties. So they have to decide if that's worth it. They do have some cap space left. They also have to work out an extension with Dalvin Cook potentially. But for Harris, even though he wasn't necessarily obligated to sign this tag while negotiating a deal, the $11.4 Million that he's going to get is still more than double his career earnings of $5.3 million. So I think he likes the security. He would obviously prefer to get the long term deal rather than play the year out on the tag. But the sides have until July 15th to work that out.