New Vikings addition caused Harrison Smith to return for 2023
By Adam Patrick
New Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores played a role in safety Harrison Smith returning to the team for the 2023 season.
Heading into the 2023 offseason, no one really knew if we had already seen the last of Harrison Smith in a Minnesota Vikings uniform.
Smith orginally had a pretty large salary cap hit for the 2023 campaign and some wondered if he would like to play for a team that has a better chance at winning a Super Bowl than the Vikings next season.
Eventually, however, the veteran safety decided to agree to a contract renegotiation that will allow him to spend his 12th year in the NFL as a member of Minnesota's roster.
Minnesota Vikings addition of Brian Flores impacted the decision made by Harrison Smith
The disaster that was the Vikings' defense in 2022 was incredibly difficult to watch each week. But it was probably even more difficult for someone like Smith to take part in, considering how many elite units that he had been a part of in the past.
If Minnesota didn't fire Ed Donatell this offseason, then we might have seen Smith go out the door instead. But Donatell is gone and the veteran safety is happy with who the Vikings selected to be their new defensive coordinator, Brian Flores.
Recently, Smith revealed that the hiring of Flores played a part in his decision to get a deal done and remain with Minnesota for the 2023 season.
"I'd say [Flores] was a big reason. I wouldn't say it was one thing. I kind of grew up here in a sense, so there's tangible things I've thought about and intangible things. They all kind of added up to I wanted to stay here and give it another crack."
Under Donatell in 2022, it didn't feel like Smith was allowed to do much of what made him successful in the past. Instead, he was stuck in pass coverage more often than not or trying to overcompensate for some of his teammates' lack of experience.
With Flores bringing his aggressive approach to defense to the Vikings, Smith should be able to return to some of the things he was able to when Mike Zimmer was running the show. And if this ends up being the case, then Smith is about to remind a ton of people that he is still one of the best safeties in the entire NFL.