The Minnesota Vikings have star safety Harrison Smith under contract for one more season, but that isn't stopping the front office from trying to sign him long term.
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Vikings GM Anticipating Smith Extension
Thursday, Feb. 18
Per ESPN's Ben Goessling, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman expects a contract extension for Smith to happen "in the not-too-distant future."
The Vikings exercised Smith's fifth-year option on his rookie deal last year, with Goessling reporting last July the team didn't want to talk about an extension until after 2015. He's set to make $5.3 million next season, per Spotrac.
True to their word, the Vikings appear to be on the verge of giving Smith a nice new deal.
The 27-year-old has had some injury problems, as he missed three games last season and eight in 2013. When healthy, however, he has been a valuable piece in Minnesota's secondary. Pro Football Focus graded him out as the best safety in the NFL last season:
Pro Football Focus @PFF
Every Safety ranked from best to worst this season. Best: Harrison Smith Worst: Maurice Alexander https://t.co/Cdz51gQl6a1/8/2016, 4:37:42 PM
The Vikings have a talented young core with Smith, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, wide receiver Stefon Diggs and defensive end Danielle Hunter that they are building around. They won the NFC North in 2015 and figure to keep improving as those young guys gain more experience.
Locking Smith up would be not only a commitment to one of the best players at his position, but also a sign to the rest of the Vikings players that the front office believes in where they are heading.