There’s a dry season for NFL content, occurring in the last couple of weeks of June through Independence Day. So, this year, the latest and “greatest” theory for the Minnesota Vikings is a trade of safety Harrison Smith, according to Bleacher Report.
Brent Sobleski from Bleacher Report authored an article on Friday detailing one player each NFL team should trade before the regular season starts, and indeed, for the Vikings, that’s Smith, who’s played for the team since 2012.
The main rationale from Sobleski involves depth at safety. The Vikings already have Lewis Cine and Camryn Bynum at safety and could reasonably be content with that twosome, according to Sobleski.
He wrote, “New general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah already drafted Smith’s replacement. The Vikings chose Lewis Cine with the 32nd overall pick. The two can certainly play together, but Cine is an absolute hammer. He proved to be the eraser on Georgia’s national championship defense. […] The Vikings also have Camryn Bynum ready to compete for a starting spot.”
The problem here is relying on Cine and Bynum as starters. While either man may blossom into a Smith-like starter — the Vikings are banking on that for Cine especially — it’s all a big hope for now. Cine has never played an NFL snap, and Bynum’s bust-out from 2021 wasn’t necessarily long-term. If the Vikings traded Smith — which, of course, is only a Bleacher Report theory — they’d lean on unproven commodities on the back of the 2022 defense. And for a team professed all-in stakes this season, counting on “unknowns” to perform like the established Smith is risky business.
Sobleski also noted about Smith’s contract, “A trade now will allow the Vikings to save $3.5 million this season — which can be rolled into next year’s salary-cap availability — while avoiding massive charges from 2023 to 2025.”
Smith earns $16 million per season, a meaty figure for a 33-year-old defensive back. In that regard, his contract is almost a lifetime achievement award. Still, trading Smith away from a team craving playoff contendership is head-scratching.
It’s more likely for Smith to be traded next spring (if he’s jettisoned at all). Minnesota will know by January if the Kevin O’Connell + Kirk Cousins experiment was successful. If it was not, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could rebuild on the fly — perhaps trading Cousins to a team of his choosing — and Smith could fall by the wayside as a priority. Until then, though, Smith is very much a figurehead of the Vikings defense — money be damned.
Other trade ideas from Bleacher Report?
- Dallas Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott
- Green Bay Packers and Jordan Love
- New York Giants and Saquon Barkley
- Seattle Seahawks and D.K. Metcalf
Don’t expect a Smith trade this summer.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).