4 Vikings players who will benefit most from a strong draft in 2021

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Harrison Smith /

Harrison Smith – S

There wasn’t a doubt that the Vikings were going to move on from Anthony Harris this offseason. The safety didn’t reach anything like the production we saw from the player in 2019. This was reflected in the veteran only getting a one-year, $5 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency.

Minnesota made what could be a shrewd signing in the form of Xavier Woods, providing the player can bounce back following a disappointing campaign with the Dallas Cowboys in 2020. However, with the status of cornerback Jeff Gladney being uncertain due to a concerning legal issue, more will be needed throughout the secondary if the Vikings want to be considered legitimate postseason challengers next time around.

Acquiring a young, hungry prospect or two during the draft would benefit Harrison Smith more than most. The prolific Pro Bowler is still performing to an incredibly high standard, but the former Notre Dame star isn’t getting any younger, and he will need some athleticism alongside him to take some of the pressure off.

This would be welcome both at safety and cornerback at some stage. Patrick Peterson and Mackensie Alexander are two notable free-agent signings made by the Vikings, but their explosiveness seems to be dwindling due to their age, and both are only under contract for a year.

Smith is heading into the final year of his deal in 2021. What comes next for the veteran is unclear, but getting more energy around him is vital.