5 Vikings players that should stick around for the 2023 season

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Patrick Peterson
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Patrick Peterson /
4 of 6
Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Harrison Smith /

Harrison Smith – S

At 34 years old, Harrison Smith doesn’t have the same value he used to have for the Vikings’ defense. His Pro Football Focus overall grade of 68.4 was his lowest since 2013 and it would be easy to find a replacement-level player that is cheaper than his $19.1 million cap hit for 2023.

Let’s assume that the Vikings can work out the financials. There’s a great chance that Smith could be falling off the age cliff but there’s another chance that he wasn’t being used properly in Donatell’s scheme.

Smith played just 253 snaps in the box last season, which was his lowest total since he was nursing an ankle injury in 2015. Missing three games due to a neck injury may have lowered that number but Smith was also in coverage for 97.8 percent of his snaps – the highest number since 2013.

Kevin O’Connell said during his introductory press conference that Smith was “the perfect player for the defensive structure we want to play,” but his usage didn’t suggest that was the case. With Lewis Cine recovering from a season-ending injury, it could be worth the Vikings working out the financials, bringing him back for one more year, and turning him loose in a new scheme.