As time ticked down last Sunday, the Vikings needed a spark. They were down 17-10 in a sloppy game against a beatable Commanders team. With under 10 minutes to play, Harrison Smith was the hero coming up with a huge interception that helped the Vikings capitalize and ultimately prevail 20-17. Smith’s interception was his 4th of the year which is tied for second in the NFL. In his 11th year as a Viking, he has been able to keep producing at a high level for a defense that has desperately needed him.
In his younger years, Smith would impress by flying around the field delivering huge hits that would earn the nickname, “Harry the Hitman.” He would show off his ability to read opposing quarterbacks and jump passes, often intercepting quarterbacks with impressive hands for a defensive player. These traits led to league wide recognition and fear from opponents on a weekly basis. He was the anchor to a once dominant Mike Zimmer defense. Now at 33, with his age becoming a significant factor in the upcoming years, the big question remains…Will Harrison Smith have done enough to make the Hall of Fame?
Only 20 safeties have ever been enshrined, but with the induction of 6 safeties in the past two years, Smith certainly has a strong case. Compared to other safeties, he stacks up pretty well. 2020 HOF inductee Troy Polumalu’s stats put side by side with Smith’s are shocking. In 6 less games, Smith has the lead in tackles, triple the amount of qb hits, 4.5 more sacks, 5 more forced fumbles, and a 1 interception lead. Compared to inductee John Lynch we see another similar story. Smith leads in almost all categories besides tackling which he will be able to pass with longevity. He has the counting stats to put together a strong resume to get into the HOF. He has added 6 pro-bowl and a first team all-pro appearance throughout his career. So what is Smith missing to become a surefire pick to be selected?
The issue with Smith’s resume is his lack of postseason success. Over half the safeties enshrined have a ring to back up their play. He has only made it to the NFC championship game once and that game was not particularly competitive. Smith has not had the postseason stats or success to back up his impressive numbers. Another issue is his slight shortage of accolades. He was snubbed from the 2010’s all-decade team, instead the honors went to players like Earl Thomas and Eric Berry. He only has 1 first team all-pro selection while almost every Hall of Famer at the position has 2 or more. Smith plays an under the radar style of football. Coming from a smaller market team and being a less outspoken member, the media has not always given him the credit he deserves. He has remained an underrated player in today’s game and that could dampen his chances.
On the bright side, Smith is not yet done playing football. There’s still time for him to rack up counting stats, and with the year he is having, possibly an all-pro or pro-bowl selection. Smith needs to continue to play his brand of football and stay healthy and competitive into his late 30’s. With the Vikings sitting atop the NFC North at 7-1, the addition of a Super Bowl to his resume is not out of the question. Achieving that would undoubtedly punch his ticket into Canton.