Harrison Smith is an essential part of the Minnesota Vikings defense and the safety’s tackling skills have earned him praise from Pro Football Focus.
It has become a tradition for the Minnesota Vikings to have a top-ranked defense under head coach Mike Zimmer. His ability to get the most out of players by playing to their strengths has become a benchmark of the team’s success.
Last year, the team frustrated opposing offenses, allowing the fourth-fewest yards per game to opponents (309.7), tied for third in sacks (50), and allowed the lowest third-down conversion in the league (30%).
One key part of that defensive unit is Harrison Smith. The All-Pro safety is a gamechanger with his ability to play coverage, blitz the quarterback, and bring down ball carriers. These skills have made him a difficult read for opposing offenses and one of the most exciting players on the field.
Recently, Pro Football Focus released a list of signature stats based on position and Smith got some love when it came to his tackling.
"“The NFL’s most efficient tackler at the safety position in 2018 was none other than Minnesota Vikings’ Harrison Smith, missing just four of his 86 tackle attempts en route to a position-high 21.5 tackling efficiency. He missed just one tackle on his 406 run-defense snaps and three on his 571 snaps against the pass.”"
Minnesota’s defense is set up to limit yards after the catch and put teams in third and long situations. When the opposition is put in that situation, that is when Harrison Smith is at his best. Those statistics from Pro Football Focus show just how much of an asset he is when it comes to getting big stops, especially against the run.
The best news of all is that Harrison Smith is under contract with the Minnesota Vikings through the 2021 NFL season. He will continue to be a big part of the team’s defense and a key reason they can be a thorn in the sides of opposing offenses.