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Grind To Gain

By: Jamie harmer
March 8, 2018
Photo : Alex Dorner

Minnesota Vikings Safety Anthony Harris may have came to the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent, but it wasn't do to his lack of production during his college career. Harris was a stand out Safety for the University of Virginia, playing in 49 games(35 starts) while amassing 289 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 19 pass break ups, and oh yeah, 11 interceptions. Harris would garner first team All-ACC honors, along with being named an All-American in '13.

After injuring his shoulder in his senior year, Harris would have to decline his invitation to the senior bowl to undergo surgery for a torn Labrum. This would also go on to limit his workouts at the NFL combine to just the 40 yard dash.

Harris, a one time projected top five Safety headed into the '15 draft, would end up going undrafted.
...but his story wouldn't end there. In fact, it would be just the beginning. Harris received an invite to attend UDRFA tryouts from the Vikings. There, Harris earned a 3 year contract with the team. Shortly after, Harris would be waived, and find himself on the Vikings practice squad. Spending 12 games on the PS, Harris was promoted to the active 53 on December 8th. Due to injuries in the Vikings secondary, Harris played in four games his rookie year, starting two.

In '16, Harris was named Harrison Smith's backup. He also was a contributor on special teams. Fast forward to '17, where Harris again makes the 53 man cut as Smith's backup. During the '17 season, Ant Harris played valuable minutes. Not only was he a major contributor on special teams, he filled in for a suspended Andrew Sendejo against the Rams, and made what some consider a game altering play. Harris forced a fumble at the goal line, and recovered it on the opening drive of the 2nd half. Again, Harris would be called upon to play in place of an injured Sendejo in the Divisional round of the playoffs against the Saints. Harris would make the 3rd down stop on running back Alvin Kamara, forcing the Saints to kick a field goal, leaving time on the clock for well...we all know.
Ant Harris enters 2018 as a free agent, but news has broke that the Vikings will be re-signing him as soon as next week to a one year deal. Great news for both sides involved.

Coach Zimmer has preached character, hard work, and focus during his time in Minnesota, Ant Harris embodies those traits to the tee.