The annual drubbing of Madden NFL 21 ratings is in full swing as players and fans around the league are disputing the game’s creators’ evaluation of NFL talent. The Minnesota Vikings are no exception either. Several players on the roster were disrespected, but Electronic Arts did get one rating right.
Five-time Pro Bowler Harrison Smith was ranked the best safety in the game, boasting a 95 overall rating.
Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu was ranked second with a 93 overall rating, followed by the New York Jets‘ Jamal Adams with a 92. Adams was named the hardest-hitting safety in the league with a 95 hit power rating, compared to Smith’s third-ranked 93 rating in the same category.
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Madden 21 Got Anthony Harris Dead Wrong
While Madden’s rating for Smith is fitting for the eight-year veteran, they got Smith’s partner in crime Anthony Harris dead wrong.
Harris, who led the NFL in interceptions last season, was rated 83 overall, according to Madden School’s leak of each team’s top-10 players. Most of the launch ratings were comparable to each players’ end-of-game rating from Madden 20. Harris got a one-point bump from his 82 Madden 20 rating as the game’s creators are still not sold on his success being indicative of him as a player.
Harris has hovered in the top-five of several safety position rankings this offseason and was even ranked No. 1 by Touchdown Wire. He also has the highest Pro Football Focus position grade of all safeties entering the 2020 season.
Undrafted out of Virginia is 2015, Harris has played in 31 games in his five-year career, has either intercepted or broken up 21 passes on 53 targets, according to Purple Insider’s Matthew Coller. Earl Thomas in his prime (2012-2015) broke up or intercepted 22 passes on 95 targets — he was rated an 88 this season at age 31. Harris has yet to get the acknowledgment of his development as he enters his prime at 28 years old.
Vikings Spend the Third-Most at Safety
Smith’s $10.75 million salary ranks the eighth-highest among active safeties and a relative steal. But the Vikings’ failure to sign Anthony Harris to a long-term contract by Wednesday means Harris will play the upcoming season an $11.44 million franchise tag, making him the fifth-highest paid safety in the league.
Together, the starting duo, who was named the top-safety tandem in the NFL, commands a vast majority of the Vikings spending at the position, which ranks the third-highest in the NFL.
Coach Mike Zimmer said that ideally, he’d like to spend money elsewhere.
“I love Anthony. If he doesn’t come back, I think he’s earned everything he’s got, but if you put up the positions most important on defense it’s probably not going to be safety,” Zimmer told Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune back in February when the Vikings signed Harris to the tag.
Next offseason, the Vikings will likely decide on whether they’ll keep the two stars together as Harris will reach free agency and Smith will enter the final year of his current contract.
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