The Vikings exercised the 2016 option on safety Harrison Smith’s contract, so there’s no risk of losing him this offseason.
Given how well Smith has played since the Vikings selected him in the first round of the 2012 draft, it would seem like a bad idea to risk losing him next offseason either. General Manager Rick Spielman said Thursday that he feels good about the chances that the Vikings and Smith will agree to an extension that takes that possibility off the table.
“I would imagine he would be one of those guys coming down the pipe here pretty soon,” Spielman said, via the team’s website. “Harrison, with the way he runs our back end of the defense, I think he’s one of the better playmakers at safety. He can play free and strong, he’s effective on the deep end, and he’s just as effective when he gets walked up to the line.”
Assuming he signs a long-term deal this offseason, Eric Berry figures to move to the front of the list of best-paid safeties along with Earl Thomas and Devin McCourty. Smith’s extension probably would wind up in a similar neighborhood.
Spielman added that he’s had conversations with impending free agents linebacker Chad Greenway and cornerback Terence Newman about returning to the team in 2016. He also said that the team has talked about wide receiver Mike Wallace, who has an $11.5 million cap hit that’s out of proportion to his contributions in 2015. Spielman called Wallace “a tremendous leader,” although the price tag still looks a bit too high for what he brings to the table off the field.