Mike Harris (OT)

Mike Harris Eyes NFL Return

Former Vikings offensive lineman Mike Harris is hoping to return to the NFL, as Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press writes. A congenital brain condition forced him to retire in 2017, but he’s keeping his fingers crossed for good news in January when he meets with specialists. 

Harris stayed close to the Vikings this year, serving as an NFL uniform inspector for Vikings home games. His itch to play hasn’t subsided much from the sidelines.

Every game I’m out there at U.S. Bank Stadium, hearing that (Gjallarhorn) blow, hearing the crowd going, I miss being on the field playing,’’ said Harris.

Before the diagnosis, Harris served as a key cog for the Vikings in 2014 and 2015. In 2015, he started all 16 games at right guard, but he spent the 2016 season on the non-football illness list. If he gets good news, Harris could be back on the field sometime next year.

That would be a cool comeback story, wouldn’t it?’’ Harris said. “It would truly be a miracle. But anything’s possible. I just turned 31, so I’m a little bit older, but my body feels great. The only thing that made me retire is just one little thing in my brain, but the rest of my body is excellent.’’

Harris’ brain arteriovenous malformation was repaired with surgery in 2017. After the operation, doctors told him there was just a 5% chance of recurrence. In a few weeks, Harris will find out whether or not a comeback attempt is advisable.

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Former Vikings OL Mike Harris Retires

Former Vikings and Chargers offensive lineman Mike Harris will officially file NFL retirement papers next month, according to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press.Mike Harris (vertical)

Harris, 28, isn’t hanging up his cleats voluntarily, however, as a congenital brain condition — brain arteriovenous malformation — forced Harris to call it a career. Harris originally noticed the symptoms in June 2016 and believed he was having a stroke. Vikings doctors, and later Mayo Clinic staff, diagnosed him, and while the issue wasn’t originally thought to be career-ending, Harris was informed this summer that he shouldn’t continue playing. However, Harris’ brain condition isn’t expected to affect his ability to lead a full, non-football-playing life.

“For a long time, I really depressed about the whole situation but I finally am in the light,’’ Harris said. “At the end of the day, I want to live to be a grown man. Football gave me a good life. I had been playing since I was 10 years old. When it first happened, I didn’t want to talk to the media and any of my teammates, but I’m in a better place now. It took a while but I know my life comes over football.’’

Originally an undrafted free agent out of UCLA, Harris spent the first two seasons of his career with the Chargers before joining the Vikings in 2014. After having served as a reserve for most of his NFL tenure, Harris started all 16 games for Minnesota in 2015 and graded as the league’s No. 23 guard, per Pro Football Focus. That performance led to a new deal, a one-year pact that locked him in with the Vikings through 2016.

Harris spent the 2016 campaign on the non-football injury list, meaning that the Vikings weren’t compelled to pay any portion of his $1.9MM base salary. But Minnesota opted to pay Harris $400K, per Tomasson, and Harris also collected another $100K via a workout bonus. The Vikings ultimately waived Harris in February.

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Vikings Cut Brandon Fusco, Mike Harris

The Vikings have cut a pair of offensive linemen. The team announced on Friday that Brandon Fusco and Mike Harris have been released. Mike Harris (vertical)

Harris, 28, stepped up for the Vikings in 2015 when their O-Line was ravaged by injuries. In a season in which both John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt went down, Harris started in every game for the team and finished out the year as Pro Football Focus’ No. 23 ranked guard. Although he re-signed with the team prior to the 2016 season, he was unable to suit up due to an undisclosed illness or condition. It’s not immediately clear whether he plans on continuing to play football.

Fusco appeared in 14 games (all starts) for the Vikings in 2016. The advanced metrics at PFF weren’t very impressed with his play, however, leaving him with one of the worst scores of any qualified guard in the league last year. His only quality season, per PFF, came in 2013 when he made 15 starts at right guard for Minnesota. Fusco, a former sixth-round pick, will turn 29 this summer.

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Vikings G Mike Harris Takes Pay Cut

The Vikings and guard Mike Harris agreed to a reworked contract today, as Ben Goessling of ESPN.com writes. Harris has been on the non-football illness list since training camp. Mike Harris

Minnesota had to move some money around to make room for the addition of Jake Long and Harris’ pay cut accomplishes that. Initially slated for more, Harris now only carries a cap figure of $1.5MM. When considering that Harris’ $1MM in likely-to-be-earned incentives are not at all likely-to-be-earned, that cap number will go down even further.

In total, the Vikings have cleared out $970K+ in cap space by cutting down Harris’ contract, giving them ample room to take on Long’s $423K+ cap hit. As of this writing, the Vikings have $591,491 in available cap space.

Harris, a former undrafted free agent, was an offensive tackle during his two seasons with the Chargers. Harris played 12 games at right tackle for the Vikings in 2014, and he started all 16 games at guard in 2015. He re-signed with the Vikings on a one-year, $2MM deal this past offseason.

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Vikings’ Roster Now At 75

The Vikings had already released center John Sullivan today, and now they’ve announced several other moves that bring them in at the 75-man deadline.

Waived/Injured:

Waived:

  • WR Troy Stoudemire

Placed on reserve/non-football illness:

Harris, a former undrafted free agent, served an as offensive tackle during his two seasons with the Chargers. Harris played 12 games at right tackle for the Vikings in 2014, and he started all 16 games at guard this past season. He re-signed with the Vikings on a one-year, $2MM deal.

Vikings Re-Sign Mike Harris

After having signed guard Alex Boone earlier today, the Vikings are further reinforcing their offensive line. According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Twitter), the Vikings have re-signed Mike Harris to a one-year deal.

The reporter notes that the agreement “is in the range of $1.75MM.”

The 27-year-old has proven to be a versatile offensive lineman throughout his four years in the league.

The former undrafted free agent served an as offensive tackle during his two seasons with the Chargers. Harris played 12 games at right tackle for the Vikings in 2014, and he started all 16 games at guard this past season. He signed a one-year, $1.5MM deal with Minnesota last offseason.

Harris played 1,097 snaps for Minnesota in 2015, and Pro Football Focus rated him 23rd among the league’s guards.

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Vikings Submit Offer To Mike Harris

A key cog on the Vikings’ injury-stricken offensive line last season, Mike Harris received an offer from Minnesota worth $3.5MM over two seasons, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

This offer comes in a bit lower than Tomasson expected, with previous reports indicating Harris could have anticipated a two-year proposal worth $5MM.Mike Harris

Confirming the offer to Tomasson, Harris said it’s too early to tell whether he’ll accept it and return to the Twin Cities. The unrestricted free agent told Tomasson he’d prefer to reach an agreement to re-sign by Monday, when the legal tampering period begins for other teams to contact Harris.

The former Chargers UDFA signee earned $1.54MM last season in Minnesota, so this offer isn’t exactly a notable raise and could lead Harris to wait for other teams’ potential interest despite preferring to stay in Minnesota.

Harris started all 17 of the Vikings’ games last season after being moved from tackle to right guard. As both John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt were lost for the season before the regular season began, Harris was productive at his new spot, ranking as Pro Football Focus’ No. 23 guard for 2015.

With Loadholt and Matt Kalil uncertain to be on the Vikings’ 2016 payroll despite being under contract, Harris would represent a cheaper option to plug in at either guard or tackle.

The Vikings have four linemen — Sullivan, Loadholt, Brandon Fusco and Joe Berger — on veteran contracts, with three of that group being at least 30 years old. One of the few key Vikings free agents, Harris turns 28 in December.

They currently possess $24.8MM worth of cap room, and that’s including deals for Kalil and Mike Wallace, which are each worth just more than $11MM AAV. Cutting ties with either would save the Vikings more than $11MM.

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North Rumors: Harris, Newman, D. Smith, Ravens

Vikings guard Mike Harris is eligible to hit the open market next week, but he would prefer to get something done before Monday’s legal tampering period begins so that he can remain in Minnesota, as he tells Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

“My agent is working really hard right now, and I’m hoping I can get a deal before Monday,” Harris said. “I see myself in Minnesota for the rest of my career. That’s where I want to be. So hopefully we get the contract ready this weekend. I’m excited. It’s going to be a great season for the Vikings, and I want to be a part of it.”

Harris expects the Vikings to put a formal offer on the table soon, and a source tells Tomasson that it will likely be a two-year contract worth in the ballpark of $5MM. If Minnesota can get a deal like that finalized, it would be a great value for the team — Harris shifted over from tackle last season to become a full-time guard for the Vikes, and was ranked 23rd out of 81 qualified players by Pro Football Focus.

Here’s more out of the NFL’s North divisions, including one more Vikings-related item:

  • Terence Newman is set to become the NFL’s oldest defensive back. Newman, who will turn 38 this year, wants to play another season, and all signs points to there being mutual interest between the veteran cornerback and the Vikings, Tomasson writes for the Pioneer Press.
  • Although the Ravens released linebacker Daryl Smith today, the team hasn’t ruled out the possibility of bringing him back after he gauges his value on the open market, GM Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. “We are not closing the door on the possibility of him returning to the Ravens,” Newsome said. “He deserves an opportunity to see his market value at this time.”
  • As Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com details, safety Sean Richardson‘s future with the Packers – and in the NFL – remains unclear due to his neck injury. While Richardson is scheduled to become a free agent next week, his situation is unlikely to be resolved, since he still hasn’t been medically cleared to return.
  • Whlie it would be great for the Browns if they can re-sign center Alex Mack, who opted out of his contract this week, the team shouldn’t devote a ton of resources to Mack if it means losing right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, writes Tom Reed of Cleveland.com. Of course, Reed notes that the ideal scenario would involve retaining both players.

Extra Points: Dolphins, Bears, Vikes, Lions, Draft

The Dolphins’ front office and coaching staff apparently aren’t the only areas they’re going to overhaul during the offseason. The team will also make big changes to its 27th-ranked defense, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

Miami ranks 24th in passing yards allowed and 25th in rating against (98.8), so it plans to strengthen its secondary in the coming months. That means adding two new cornerbacks, asking veteran corner Brent Grimes ($9.5MM cap hit in 2016) to restructure his contract, and finding another safety to complement Reshad Jones. Free agent-to-be Eric Weddle, a three-time Pro Bowler with San Diego, would be open to an offer from the Dolphins, Jackson writes. He and Jones would form an excellent tandem, but it will cost the Dolphins (or anyone else) a lot to land Weddle.

Along the front seven, the Dolphins want to keep end Cameron Wake, who tore his Achilles’ tendon in October. Doing so might require the soon-to-be 34-year-old to restructure his deal, as he’s set to count nearly $10MM against the club’s cap next season. The Dolphins hope to continue pairing Olivier Vernon with Wake to generate a pass rush, but Vernon is a free agent and retaining him might be unrealistic.

“I only get one shot [at free agency], so I’m not [doing] a hometown discount,” said Vernon.

Miami also needs to upgrade at linebacker, where Jackson believes the team will look to add one or two new starters. They could either cut Koa Misi or move him back to the middle if they’re unable to find a better outside solution than MLB Kelvin Sheppard.

More from around the NFL:

  • The Bears are open to a long-term deal with receiver Alshon Jeffery, CSNChicago.com reports. The 6-foot-3, 216-pounder landed on injured reserve Wednesday after totaling 54 catches, 807 yards and four touchdowns this year in just nine games. The soon-to-be 26-year-old is primed to cash in soon, be it with the Bears or someone else, having accumulated 228 receptions, well over 3,000 yards and 21 touchdowns over the last three years (41 games).
  • Like Jeffery, Vikings right guard Mike Harris is also a pending free agent. His ideal scenario includes re-signing with Minnesota rather than testing the open market.That’s the hope,” Harris said, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “It’d be wonderful. It’d be a dream come true.” The fourth-year man has made a career-best 15 starts this season and earned a positive assessment from Pro Football Focus (subscription required), which ranks him 24th out of 81 qualifying guards.
  • Continuing the soon-to-be free agent theme, Lions safety Isa Abdul-Quddus is scheduled to hit the market in the offseason. That’s good timing, notes Kyle Meinke of MLive.com, as Abdul-Quddus is in line for a payday thanks to a career year. Abdul-Quddus, whom PFF ranks an impressive 20th out of 87 qualifying safeties, is hoping that payday comes in Detroit. “I love it here,” the 26-year-old told Meinke. “I love the coaching staff. I love Coach (Jim) Caldwell. I love everything here man, and I’d love to come back.”
  • Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee will enter the 2016 draft, Chase Goodbread of NFL.com tweets. Lee, a redshirt sophomore, is following the same path as teammates Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott and Cardale Jonesall of whom declared for the draft earlier this week.

NFC Notes: Vikings, Saints, 49ers, Packers, Hill

As we head into Saturday night, here’s the latest from around the NFC.

  • Panthers wideout Stephen Hill‘s bad week worsened Saturday in the form of a right leg injury that resulted in him being carted off the field, according to Steve Reed of the Associated Press. This comes a few days after his marijuana-related citation. Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer tweeted Hill’s status “doesn’t look good.” He has to be considered a longshot to play in North Carolina this season, considering what’s happened this week and the players residing ahead of the former second-round pick on the Panthers’ depth chart.
  • A starter at right tackle in Minnesota’s final five games last season, Mike Harris will receive the first crack at earning the Vikings‘ starting right guard job, coach Mike Zimmer confirmed to media (via Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune). Rookie T.J. Clemmings also figures to factor in there, but Harris has started 17 games since arriving in the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2012.
  • Adrian Peterson‘s game-action drought will likely continue until the Vikings take the field for the regular season, Ben Goessling of ESPN.com reports. Although this means the running back’s time without having suited up for a game will last more than a year, with the Vikings’ opener coming Sept. 14, Peterson hasn’t carried the ball in a preseason game since 2011.
  • Saints coach Sean Payton was not surprised by the suspension given to tight end Orson Charles‘ one-game suspension for a road-rage incident, telling media (including NOLA.com’s Evan Woodberry), “We were on top of all of that. None of that was a surprise, “Payton said. “He’s been very forthright in communicating. He’s been very open with the league and with ourselves.” Charles has started six games in three seasons, each coming with the Bengals as a rookie in 2012.
  • As part of his reworked contract, fifth-year 49er Aldon Smith collected a $300K roster bonus Saturday. The perpetually afoul-with-the-league linebacker’s earned $800K in bonuses since April 1, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • Sean Richardson‘s eventful offseason continued Saturday, with the safety receiving a $200K bonus for being on the roster on the third day of Packers training camp, per ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky (via Twitter). The Packers matched the Raiders’ $2.55MM contract offer and kept Richardson in Green Bay for another season.