Anthony Harris Signs Vikings Franchise Tender, Will Continue Contract Talks

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2020

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 05: Anthony Harris #41 of the Minnesota Vikings reacts during the first half against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 05, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings safety Anthony Harris announced he has signed his franchise tag while he and the team work on a long-term contract. 

"Since arriving in Minnesota with uncertainty as an undrafted free agent in 2015, I have accomplished my dream of playing in the NFL going from the practice squad to the active roster, to becoming a full-time starter to leading the league in interceptions," Harris wrote. "During the past five years, Minnesota has become home and is where I want to continue to develop as a player having only scratched the surface!

"Although it has been a strange offseason, time spent in isolation with family has been refreshing and energizing. This is just one step in God’s plan for me and my family. I will let my agents and the Vikings work towards long term certainty in Minnesota, but I am excited to be back for the 2020 season."

Harris was under no obligation to sign the tag. He could have left the deal unsigned and not been required to attend any mandatory offseason meetings. The Vikings and Harris have until July 15 to complete a long-term deal, or he will have to play 2020 on the $11.4 million franchise tag.

Harris earned just $5.3 million in his first five NFL seasons, so his eagerness to sign the tag makes sense. He is coming off a breakout 2019 campaign, recording 60 tackles and tying for the NFL lead with six interceptions. After failing to pick off a pass in each of his first three seasons, Harris has nine combined in 2018 and 2019.

Pro Football Focus gave Harris a 90.5 overall grade for the season, ranking him among the best safeties in football. 

With only 31 career starts under his belt, the best could be ahead for a player who appears to be blooming into a star at age 28. The Vikings could probably lock him down to a long-term contract that pays less annually than the franchise tag, so these negotiations may just be about getting to a number that works for both sides.