Harrison Smith will be a free agent after the 2021 NFL season. The Vikings front office can choose to make him a lifer, let him shop around other franchises, or trade him beforehand. Emotionally, Vikings loyalists are enormously invested in option one, but business decisions are, well, business decisions.
Should Smith exit Minnesota via trade or free agency, a shrewd strategy on his behalf would be to join an elite NFL franchise. Up until this March, the New England Patriots are the type of franchise that would make sense. But Tom Brady has since left New England for Tampa Bay, so we don’t know if the Patriots reign of terror is over.
A team that is young and balanced on both sides of the ball like the Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, or Denver Broncos could be matched for Smith’s services if he went ring-hunting in 2022. From there, if Smith chose the right team and won some championships, his Hall of Fame case would be bolstered.
You just don’t know, though, if the Vikings are on the cusp of a Super Bowl run or if Smith would even “pick” the correct franchise to join in free agency. Nevertheless, Super Bowl wins, no matter the team affiliation, would get him closer to Canton.