If the Vikings were to make a lateral move, the next best thing to signing Anthony Harris would be to land Justin Simmons. As a relative unknown outside of Denver, Simmons has been just as important to the Broncos defense as Harris has been in Minnesota.
A big reason for Simmons’ success has been his coverage ability, which graded out second to Harris in 2019 according to PFF. Much like Harris, Simmons is an elite tackler that ranked fourth in the NFL with 24.5 attempts per missed tackle while also collecting four interceptions and allowing a microscopic 32.1 passer rating when targeted.
If common sense were to prevail here and the Vikings wanted to spend money on Harris but couldn’t work out a deal, the obvious move would be to take that money, drive to Denver and drop it on Simmons’ doorstep. But much like Harris, the Broncos would like to keep Simmons without anybody getting a chance to court his services.
Speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine this week, Broncos General Manager John Elway confirmed that if the team is not able to work out a long-term deal, they would use the franchise tag to retain Simmons.
So why put Simmons on this list? Because he would have been a great Plan B for the Vikings and it probably increases the urgency to get Harris to sign on the dotted line. (Also, he’s still on the market at the time of writing this article, so maybe Elway takes a nap and forgets to submit the paperwork. One can dream, can’t they?)