Former Vikings linebacker ‘not surprised’ with the rise of Anthony Harris

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) Anthony Harris
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) Anthony Harris /

Former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway saw potential in Anthony Harris early in his career.

A year after finishing tied for the NFL lead in interceptions, Anthony Harris was hoping to sign a new, long-term deal with the Minnesota Vikings or another team that could afford him this offseason.

Unfortunately, Harris has yet to receive the long-term contract he’s been hoping for. But the talented safety did at least get the franchise tag from the Vikings this year, keeping him on the team’s roster for at least one more season.

There’s a chance that Minnesota and Harris could agree to a new, multi-year contract before the start of the regular season. But it also wouldn’t be a shock if the Vikings just let the safety remain on the franchise tag until 2021.

Chad Greenway saw something early in the current Minnesota Vikings safety.

Former Minnesota linebacker Chad Greenway is very familiar with the franchise tag. Before Harris, Greenway was actually the last player the Vikings used the franchise tag on when they did it in 2011.

Minnesota and the linebacker were eventually able to agree to a new contract before the start of the 2011 regular season and he ended up spending his entire NFL career in purple and gold.

Greenway, who actually spent time as a teammate of Harris’ for two years in 2015 and 2016, was recently asked if he could tell early on that the safety was going to develop into the talented defender that he is today.

"“There’s no question I saw that. I think a lot of guys saw that. He knew he didn’t know everything, he knew he was going to have to work for it, and he was willing to do those things. That’s where you see a lot of guys like (Harris) separate themselves. When you’re a player that wants to be a sponge and have a long career, you take things from these guys that you know are doing it right because you want to have that same process. Not everybody does it, but (Harris) did and I’m not surprised at all.”"

Harris has been with the Vikings since 2015, but last season was the first time he was a full-time starting safety for the team. He had previously spent most of his time on special teams and filling in at safety when needed.

Harris’ impressive success last year makes him worthy of the $11.4 million he will make in 2020 under the franchise tag. The fact that he’s really only had one productive season during his time in Minnesota though gives the team plenty of reasons to be skeptical about giving the safety a long-term deal as well.

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The upcoming season will be a big one for Harris since he will not only be counted on to help direct the Vikings’ young secondary, but he’ll also have to prove that his play last year wasn’t a fluke.