In 2019 Minnesota Vikings safety Anthony Harris had a breakout season. He tied for the league lead with six interceptions, and Pro Football Focus graded him as the best safety in the league. He was franchise-tagged last offseason, and played the 2020 campaign without a multi-year deal.
Last season, Harris 104 total tackles (third on the team). But he had zero interceptions, and his overall PFF grade fell to 66.2. The broader drop-off from the Vikings defense last year is worth noting, but the team looks smart to not have signed Harris long-term coming off a big 2019.
If only due to salary cap constraints, it was a no-brainer that the Vikings didn’t franchise tag Harris again. So he’s freely on the open market now, surely with multiple suitors lining up as free agency gets set to launch.
Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic (subscription required) has made some NFL free agency predictions. He has paired Harris with the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Raiders defense was so bad last season that defensive coordinator Paul Guenther didn’t finish the season. They allowed the third-most points in the league (29.9 per game), while finishing 26th against the pass (263.3 yards per game) and 24th against the run (125.8 yards allowed per game). Not surprisingly, they were also toward the bottom in interceptions (10). If they’re going to be a playoff contender next season, the defense has to be at least average. Hiring Gus Bradley as the new coordinator was a good start.
Harris clearly was not the same player in 2020 that he was in 2019. With how awful the Vikings’ defense was, with a lack of pass rush and a bunch of inexperienced (and occasionally injured) corners, no one looked good though.
Defense should be the Raiders’ top priority this offseason. Harris could be a major addition. But he can’t be the only major addition.