Anthony Harris Given Franchise Tag by Vikings Ahead of 2020 Deadline

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 16, 2020

Minnesota Vikings defensive back Anthony Harris (41) warms up before an NFL divisional playoff football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Safety Anthony Harris reportedly received the franchise tag from the Minnesota Vikings ahead of Monday's deadline.  

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the news, calling it a "surprise." Rapoport added the Vikings will either keep the safety, but also noted the move allows them to potentially deal Harris.

Harris, who will turn 29 in June, had a league-high six interceptions last year for the Vikings, who made the playoffs and upset the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Wild Card Round.

The ex-Virginia star added 11 passes defended and 60 tackles.

The 2019 season marked Harris' first as a full-time starter from beginning to end. Harris had started eight games for Minnesota from 2015 to 2017 before starting nine of 15 in 2018.

Pro Football Focus named Harris to its All-Pro team, with Sam Monson of PFF writing the following:

"A player who excelled across a limited sample size in the past, Anthony Harris has stepped into a full-time role for the Vikings and continued to perform at an extremely high level. Harris leads all safeties with six interceptions but also has five pass breakups and several other plays that escape the box score."

Chris Wesseling and Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com originally ranked Harris as the No. 19 overall free agent in the 2020 class.

"Surrounded by high draft picks with big-money contracts, Harris overcame his undrafted pedigree to become Minnesota's best player in the secondary," the NFL.com duo wrote.

Harris told Pat Kirwan of SiriusXM NFL Radio on March 13 that he loved the organization and would "definitely like to stay if possible" (h/t Grant Gordon of NFL.com).

SiriusXM NFL Radio @SiriusXMNFL

Free Agent Safety Anthony Harris (@HOOSDatDude) told us why he would embrace a return to Minnesota... "I love the organization." 👇VIDEO👇I #Vikings https://t.co/zBWY2ggiU2

"Yeah, if all things were equal—looking at the organization from a standpoint top to bottom, from the owners down to the coaches down to the locker room and the culture they have. It's somewhere that I'd definitely like to stay.

"I love Minneapolis, love the organization, it's a good city. The people there are really nice. It's very competitive, so I mean it has it has everything I want and I'd definitely like to stay if possible." 

And that could be the case for Pro Football Focus' top-graded safety from the 2019 season in the wake of his franchise tag.