Vikes sign 10th-year safety Harrison Smith to $64M extension

Sports

FILE – In this Nov. 8, 2020, file photo, Detroit Lions wide receiver Danny Amendola (80) tries to break a tackle by Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) after catching a pass during the first half of an NFL football game in Minneapolis. The Vikings have signed five-time Pro Bowl safety Smith to a contract extension Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, securing the team’s longest-tenured player for what could be the remainder of his career. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn, File)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings signed five-time Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith to a four-year contract extension on Sunday, securing the team’s longest-tenured player for what could be the remainder of his decorated career.

Smith has a league-leading 28 interceptions among all safeties since he entered the NFL in 2012. Only Hall of Famer Paul Krause (150) has started more games at safety in Vikings history than Smith (129).

According to a person with knowledge of the deal, speaking on condition of anonymity because the terms were not being announced, the new contract is worth $64 million with a little more than $26 million guaranteed. That will put Smith safely among the top five highest-paid safeties in the NFL, with Seattle’s Jamal Adams at the top of the annual average values.

Prior to the signing, Smith was in the final year of his deal with a salary cap hit slightly above $10 million. At age 32, the new contract ought to ensure he’ll stay with the Vikings as long as he’s on the field. No one from the team was available to the media on Sunday. Smith was scheduled to address reporters on Monday.

Drafted in the first round in 2012 out of Notre Dame, Smith quickly entrenched himself as the anchor of the secondary and had two of his four career interception returns for touchdowns as a rookie. He made his first Pro Bowl in 2015 and was an All-Pro pick in 2017. Smith also holds the franchise record for defensive backs with 13 1/2 career sacks.

Smith is seventh in Vikings history in interceptions, with Krause (53) leading the way. Bobby Bryant (51), Ed Sharockman (40), Joey Browner (37), Nate Wright (31) and Carl Lee (29) are next.

Smith has not missed a game to injury over the last four years, with just one absence in 2019 when the Vikings held several starters out of the final regular season game with their seed for the playoffs already secured.

This year, Smith will have all new starters around him in the secondary, with safety Xavier Woods and cornerbacks Patrick Peterson, Bashaud Breeland and Mackensie Alexander all signed as free agents.

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