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Harrison Smith restructures contract for 13th Vikings season


By Lindsey Young

It's important to Harrison Smith to remain a Minnesota Viking.

The safety worked to restructure his contract entering the 2024 season, the team announced Wednesday. The new deal sets up Smith for his 13th pro campaign, all in Purple.

The Vikings drafted Smith 29th overall in 2012, and he became an immediate starter.

He's started 175 of 176 games and has recorded 1,153 career tackles, the most by a Vikings defensive back (according to team stats). Smith has totaled 34 interceptions, including five in 2014, 2017 and 2020; 19.5 sacks; 45 tackles for loss; 86 passes defensed; 12 forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries.

Last season, Smith started all 17 games for the Vikings and totaled 93 tackles, 3.0 sacks, two tackles for loss, three passes defensed and three forced fumbles. His biggest outing occurred Week 4 at Carolina, when he recorded all three sacks, his two tackles for loss and a forced fumble against the Panthers.

Smith is a six-time Pro Bowler and in 2017 was named First-Team All-Pro by The Associated Press.

The longest-tenured Viking will continue to lead a safeties group that also includes 2020 draft pick Josh Metellus and 2021 draft pick Camryn Bynum, both of whom have ascended to play significant roles on Minnesota's defense.

Smith is entering his second season under Vikings Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores.

Vikings Notebook

In the opening moments of 2024 free agency, the Vikings announced they've agreed to terms with outside linebackers Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel, as well as linebacker Blake Cashman.

The additions at the start of the new league year involve bringing Greenard and Cashman to the Vikings after both helped the Texans to a 10-7 record and AFC South title in DeMeco Ryans' first season, which followed a 3-13-1 showing by the Texans in 2022.

The trio figures to be featured by Vikings Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores, who helped Minnesota's defense improve in multiple metrics in 2023, his first season in that role.

Cashman, a multi-year state champ at nearby Eden Prairie, and Van Ginkel, an Iowa native, are returning much closer to home. Greenard, a Georgia native who played at Louisville before transferring to Florida, will experience a new region.

Greenard is joining the Vikings after setting multiple career bests with the Texans in 2023, the final year of the 2020 third-round pick's rookie deal. He set new single-season highs for tackles (52), tackles for loss (15), QB hits (22) and sacks (12.5) in starting all 15 games he played.

According to Next Gen Stats, Greenard ranked fifth in the NFL with an average time to pressure opposing quarterbacks of 2.56 seconds. NGS also calculated a sack percentage of 3.3 that ranked fourth among players with at least 300 pass-rush reps in 2023 and a stop percentage of 7.6 against run plays, which ranked third.'s Gregg Rosenthal ranked Greenard No. 15 overall in his "Top 101" list of 2024 free agents. Rosenthal pointed out Greenard "often wins quickly" and pointed toward ESPN Analytics' creation of a "pass rush win rate metric." Using player tracker data, the metric indicates "how often a pass-rusher is able to beat his block within 2.5 seconds."

ESPN Analytics credited Greenard with 54 wins on 241 plays for a pass rush win rate of 22.4 percent that ranked sixth among edge defenders behind Micah Parsons (84 on 238), Myles Garrett (82 on 269), Will Anderson, Jr. (57 on 221), T.J. Watt (75 on 296) and Jadeveon Clowney (66 on 267).

Van Ginkel also cracked the top 20 in pass rush win rate, being credited with 32 wins on 178 plays (17.9 percent).

If anyone knows Van Ginkel's strengths, it's likely Flores, who was in his first of three seasons as Dolphins head coach when Miami used its third pick of 2019 to tab Van Ginkel, who played college football at South Dakota (2015 as a redshirt freshman), Iowa Western Community College (2016) and Wisconsin (2017-18).

Rosenthal ranked Van Ginkel at 39th in his top 100 and quipped, "If Bill Belichick was still in New England, the easy joke would be to say Van Ginkel lands with the Patriots. But that'd be selling Van Ginkel short, because his versatile skill set should be sought after by a number of teams looking for a jack of all trades."

Belichick has departed New England, but not before impacting Flores, a former member of the Patriots personnel department and assistant coach.