Monday, November 8, 2010

Will the Vikings Pick Up Harris?

Speculation has already begun that Al Harris, released earlier today by the Packers, could sign with the Vikings.  A Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article asked the veteran cornerback if he thought another NFC North team would go after him, to which he replied: "Yeah, I do. I probably can't say who."  And the Vikings, who never met a former Packer player they didn't sign, are the logical landing place.

Harris's comments in the article clearly indicate he feels slighted by Green Bay.  "I guess they feel I'm not good enough to play on their team.  That was shocking. They really caught me off guard with this one."  The Vikings have need at the position, having lost cornerback Cedric Griffin for the year.  Plus, there's the Favre and Longwell connection.

McCarthy, who was peppered with questions about the decision to let Harris go in his morning press conference today, defended the decision and contested the notion that Harris was caught off guard.  "Al Harris was told point blank all the options. I’m not going to sit here and get into he said, she said. I have no qualms at all about the professionalism that we’ve dealt with throughout this whole process. And I’ve been thanked numerous times by Al throughout this process,” said McCarthy.

I'm disappointed by the decision to release him.  By both McCarthy's and Harris's account, his rehab had gone well, so it doesn't seem to be an issue with his health (they would have put him on IR if he couldn't play).  Surely there's some business motivation -- Harris has a $2.5 million base salary this year.  But having a veteran presence like Harris is extremely valuable, even in a back-up position, which Harris had indicated he was willing to do.

I also question their depth at corner.  I'm willing to believe that Tramon Williams is their best option as the starter across from Woodson now.  The guy has been playing great.  Sam Shields has been playing well too, and had some big plays last night.  But he also got burned for some big plays and still has a lot to prove as an undrafted rookie.  Even if you accept Shields as the nickel back, are you really saying Brandon Underwood, Pat Lee, and Jarrett Bush are all better options than Harris???

The other slightly surprising aspect of this move is why didn't they trade him a few weeks ago?  That would have helped ensure he didn't end up landing on a division rival.  Presumably they tested those waters before cutting him.  There probably isn't a ton of demand for a 36-year old recovering from major knee surgery, but the guy has amazing integrity and played with incredible heart.  I'd think there are a lot of teams (particularly the Vikings), looking for those personality traits right now.

In the not too distant future, this will be the right decision.  But I'm sorry to see Harris go.  His pick six against the Seahawks will forever be one of my favorite plays in Packer history.

1 comment:

  1. Harris landing with the Dolphins was a relief. Although, this blog post makes an excellent case for why waiving Harris was the right decision in the first place: