The Minnesota Vikings All-Pro safety has picked up where he left off in 2017 and is having another impressive campaign this season.
In 2017, Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith was arguably the best at his position in the entire NFL.
As he helped lead the Vikings’ defense, Smith earned First-Team All-Pro selections from the Associated Press, the Pro Football Writers of America, Pro Football Focus, and the Sporting News last season. There weren’t many who disputed the argument that he was the best safety in the league last year.
This season, it has been more of the same for Smith. In nine games, the Minnesota safety has 47 tackles (four for a loss), three interceptions, three sacks, and five pass breakups. Opposing quarterbacks also have a rating of just 66.1 when targeting Smith this year.
Recently, the Associated Press revealed their rankings for the 32 best safeties in the NFL this season and Smith is positioned at the very top of the list. The rankings were compiled from the votes of a panel of 10 writers who cover football for the Associated Press.
His ability to cover almost anyone out on the field combined with his pass rushing skills is what impressed the voters of this list the most. One voter even referred to Smith as, “probably Minnesota’s most valuable defensive player.”
Now, that seems like a bit of a bold statement to make, at least for 2018. But it is also valid. Despite Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter currently leading the league in sacks, the team’s defense would endure a drastic decrease in success without Smith in the lineup.
Minnesota has seen a bunch of players on the defensive side of the ball miss time with injuries this season. Thanks to the excellent efforts of Hunter and Smith though, the Vikings have still been able to perform like one of the NFL’s top defenses in 2018 despite their injuries.
Smith has been playing at an extremely high level ever since Mike Zimmer was hired to be Minnesota’s head coach in 2014. Under Zimmer, the veteran defender has evolved from being just another above-average safety to where he is now as the absolute best in the league at his position.
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