Vikings Legend Is Back for One More Go

Questions Answered: Contingency Plan for Hitman, Pleasant Surprise, Reagor's Usage
Jun 8, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Over the past few months, much has been made of potential veteran Vikings leaving the team.

We saw that come to fruition earlier in the week when names such as Kirk Cousins, Jordan Hicks, and Danielle Hunter opted to head elsewhere. However, one name that is remaining in Minnesota, as he has for the past 12 years, is safety Harrison Smith.

Just like he did during the 2023 offseason, Smith has agreed to restructure his contract with the Vikings, giving him a lower cap hit for this upcoming season.

Harrison Smith Restructures Contract with the Vikings

Harrison Smith
Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) warms up before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweeted the news on Wednesday evening, “Six-time Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith has agreed to a restructured contract and will play a 13th season with the #Vikings at age 35, per sources. The 29th overall pick in 2012, Smith has 34 career INTs, becoming one of the best safeties of his era… and he’s not done yet.”

Prior to this restructure, Smith was set to carry a $19.2 million cap hit in 2024, which was the third-highest among players on the team behind RT Brian O’Neill’s $23 million and WR Justin Jefferson’s $19.7 million.

It appears that the Vikings are actually set to save right around $10 million in cap space with this move. Tom Pelissero followed up his initial report by tweeting, “Harrison Smith’s new deal is for $9 million, per his agency @AthletesFirst. Some cap relief for the #Vikings, and a little more Hitman for Minnesota.”

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings
Dec 9, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) celebrates a sack during the second quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Smith was selected in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Vikings, and he quickly blossomed into one of the best safeties that the league has ever seen.

He earned the nickname “Hitman” for being a vicious tackler and has recorded 1013 tackles, 45 tackles for loss, 19.5 sacks, 85 passes defended, 34 interceptions, and 12 forced fumbles. That interception total ranks second-highest among all active players behind only Smith’s former Vikings teammate, Patrick Peterson (36).

Solidified as one of the greatest Vikings defenders of all-time, it would have been very easy to justify leaving the team and trying to find the best situation to win a ring before hanging up the cleats. Over the past few offseasons, Smith has watched many staples of the franchise leave such as Anthony Barr, Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks, and others.

Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) tries to avoid a sack by Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Heck, it would have been just as easy for him to simply try to earn as much money as he can before his career ultimately comes to an end.

Instead, the veteran safety is back for at least one more season in Minnesota as the team tries to find a way to get back into the playoffs in 2024.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Reference.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.