Minnesota Vikings: Anthony Harris working hard to return

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Minnesota Vikings safety Anthony Harris has many of the traits which could help him become an important piece of the team’s defense in the future.

The quest for the Minnesota Vikings to find a starting safety opposite Harrison Smith has been a rough one. It feels like an eternity since the team was able to put two quality players on the field as safeties who worked well together and played off each other’s strengths.

Related Story: Is Harris an NFL starting safety?

One player with the potential to step up and be that guy is Anthony Harris. With a good combination of speed, athleticism, and ball skills, he could be just what the doctor ordered for a Vikings defense that would love to be more creative with how they use Harrison Smith.

However, Harris is still a work in progress. He admitted that in an interview with Viking Update’s Tim Yodder, but also knows that the effort he has been putting in has helped him in both his physical and mental game.

In particular, Harris is learning more about the game through film studies and watching the game, trying to pick apart some things he can do differently to be more effective on the field.

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"“I made sure I paid attention a lot last year coming into the spring and then all throughout training camp and throughout the season. I think I was able to build and take strides,” Harris told Yotter. “There was a point where I got a lot of the defenses down to where I could start to analyze things. Now I’m just trying to fine tune that area and build on what I know of the defense and continue to learn on some of the defense I might have struggled with last year.”"

Last year, Harris didn’t have many opportunities to prepare for football. A shoulder injury held him out of most of the team’s activities and had an impact on his conditioning. This year, he is working hard to ensure that he can make the most of any chance he gets.

"“Coming off of injury and not having an offseason last year I just wanted to get in the weight room, get my strength back, get my weight back up, work on the explosion and different things of that sort,” Harris told Yotter. “It was just kind of an all-around thing that I wanted to get better in all aspects.”"

Next: Vikings game-by-game 2016 season preview

Anthony Harris will be part of the competition for the starting safety job this year, but will face some stiff competition. Former starters Andrew Sendejo, Michael Griffin and several other players will also be vying for that spot. But with the hard work Harris is putting in, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him beat out the veterans and other young safeties for a starting position.