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For Newly Extended Harrison Smith, 'No. 1 Was Staying With The Vikings'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Harrison Smith is likely to be a Viking for his entire career after signing a contract extension with the team that drafted him in 2012.

But he's not thinking that far ahead.

"It's always hard to look too far into the future in the NFL," the 32-year-old Smith said Monday. "I think one of the things that has allowed me to have pretty constant success is just focusing on the now."

It's hard to argue with Smith's shortsighted approach. In his nine-year career, he's made five Pro Bowls, was named First Team All-Pro in 2017 and has made the NFL Top 100, a player-voted list, five times.

His 28 interceptions are seventh-most in team history, and no Vikings defensive back has logged more sacks than his 13.5.

Smith doesn't seem to be slowing down, either. Even last year, on a Vikings team that allowed the third-most points in team history, Smith tied his career high for interceptions with five.

"I still make a lot of plays, still play at a high level and I plan on continuing that," he said.

Head coach Mike Zimmer sure seems glad Harry the Hitman is sticking around.

"He's great for the community, he's great for the team, the organization, and he's really great for the NFL, to be honest with you," Zimmer said. "He's a first-class guy. They should take it easy on some of those helmet to helmet hits he gets, because I still think they're wrong."

Smith, the longest-tenured Viking, has spent the majority of his career under Zimmer's tutelage.

"When he came in here, I had played a couple of years and I played alright, but when he came in I kind of realized I didn't know that much about football," Smith said. "And I really learned a ton since he came in, not just as a safety but as a broader view of how the game is played offensively and defensively."

Zimmer has equally high praise for the man who's been the ostensible leader of the Vikings defense for nearly a decade.

"I feel like he's one of the best guys I've ever had as a safety, and that includes a lot of really good players," Zimmer said.

While Smith's new contract reportedly makes him the second-highest paid safety in the league, he said the extension was less about the green and more about the purple.

"It feels good. Obviously it's a great thing," he said, "but number one was staying with the Vikings."

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