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Vikings Employ Best Ball Hawk in NFL

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Jun 9, 2021; Minnesota Vikings defensive back Patrick Peterson (7) and defensive back Harrison Smith (22) talk during drills at OTA at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

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Jun 9, 2021; Minnesota Vikings defensive back Patrick Peterson (7) and defensive back Harrison Smith (22) talk during drills at OTA at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Harrison Smith was a draft pick in 2012 and immediately became a game-changer within the purple jersey. To at the present time, Smith is an elite safety within the league, as he’s a superb tackler and good in coverage. If he has flaws, he’s great at hiding them since it doesn’t seem to be they exist. Smith´s partners modified through the years, but his transcendent play all the time stayed the identical.

In his first two seasons within the NFL, Smith shared the security spots with 2009 seventh rounder Jamarca Sanford. After Sanford´s release in 2014, Robert Blanton began on the strong safety position for one season. Blanton and Smith were teammates at Notre Dame, and the Vikings chosen each within the 2012 draft. Head Coach Mike Zimmer promoted hard-hitting defensive back Andrew Sendejo to starting strong safety in 2015. He kept that spot until the 2018 season when he injured his groin in Week 5 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Because of this of the Vikings placing Andrew Sendejo on injured reserve, Anthony Harris took his likelihood and have become the starter for the rest of the 2018 campaign and kept the job in 2019 when he had his profession yr and led the NFL in interceptions, which definitely helped to persuade GM Rick Spielman of using the franchise tag on the previous undrafted player in 2020. Resulting from a disappointing season, Harris left in free agency to play for the Eagles. The Vikings subsequently replaced him with the previous Dallas Cowboy, Xavier Woods, who played that spot for all the 2021 season before signing with the Carolina Panthers in free agency.

Elite Ball Hawk

Since entering the NFL in 2018, Steelers Minkah Fitzpatrick ranks third amongst safeties (with no less than 50 targets) in ball hawk rate (30.2%).

Ball Hawk Rate is a measure of how often a player disrupts a pass divided by targets as the closest defender.

📸: Remainder of Top 5 https://t.co/9goevmlI0i pic.twitter.com/TB4sK7u9Gp

— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) June 16, 2022

Smith is the most effective within the business in terms of disrupting passes. Not only the variety of passes defended is elite, but additionally the variety of interceptions collected since coming into the league in 2012:

  1. Richard Sherman – 33
  2. Marcus Peters – 31
  3. Harrison Smith – 29

Praise From Future Hall of Famers

Bill Belichick, asked about #Vikings safety Harrison Smith: “He does an incredible job with pre-snap disguise. He’s up there with Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu. He’s a disruptive player before the ball is snapped.”

— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) November 28, 2018

Belichick is within the conversation to be the best head coach in NFL history. Receiving praise from him and hearing comparisons to Ed Reed is a giant sign of respect for Smith’s greatness.

Belichick isn’t the one elite football mind to speak highly concerning the Vikings’ safety.

Aaron Rodgers and Smith have faced one another multiple times in most years of the last decade. Smith is well respected in league circles. He’s a six-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro, even when he arguably should’ve gotten more of those accolades.

Smith finished contained in the top 15 of NFL safeties in eight of his ten seasons within the league, including 2021, in response to PFF. In 2017, he was the top-graded player at his position, and in three other years, he was ranked within the five best safeties.

In 2022, he’ll face a giant task. For the reason that Vikings chosen Lewis Cine in the primary round, Smith has been touted as his mentor for the rookie. Cine couldn’t find a greater mentor than considered one of the neatest guys in skilled football. Outside of his draft position, Smith is a giant reason why expectations for Cine are high.

The Vikings employ the ball hawk for 4 more seasons. He doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, so fans shouldn’t be concerned due to his age, despite his age of 33 years. Smith’s play will decline sooner or later, however the fixture within the defense still has quite a bit left within the tank.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. He selected the Vikings as his favorite team, despite Christian Ponder being the quarterback on the time. He’s a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of selection. Follow him on Twitter in the event you just like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt

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