4 free agents the Vikings will regret not signing in 2021

(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) Keelan Cole
(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) Keelan Cole /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Anthony Harris /

Anthony Harris – S (Philadelphia Eagles)

The Vikings did not want to continue to invest in big money next to Harrison Smith at safety, which is understandable. A down season in 2020 likely played a part in Anthony Harris not returning to the Vikings. But his one-year deal with the Eagles should have been manageable for Minnesota.

Harris is only set to make up to $5 million in 2021 and he was pretty cheap as far as the safety market is concerned. Several others at the position signed long-term deals worth significant money, but Harris was forced to settle for a low number.

Minnesota shifted its focus to Xavier Woods, taking a gamble on his athleticism and explosiveness to pair with Smith. The Woods signing could be a great one when all is said in done, but the one-year nature of it feels unsettling when Harris knows the defense and is bound to bounce back next season.

The Vikings defense was without several capable starters all throughout 2020 and that forced Harris to overcompensate at times. His down year was partly a result of Minnesota struggling as a unit rather than him falling off a cliff. For just $5 million for one more year, it would have been worth it for the Vikings to retain a staple of the defense.

This isn’t to say Harris is irreplaceable or worth a big contract. But keeping players around that know the defense and have the experience to make an impact is always a smart move. If Woods does not pan out, fans will be quick to look at the exit of Harris and wonder what could have been.