Amid rumors that starter Anthony Harris might leave, Vikings backup safety says he also wants out of Minnesota

The Minnesota Vikings are one of the most cap-strapped teams in the NFL heading into free agency. As of this writing, the Vikes have just over $20 million in cap room, even after releasing both Xavier Rhodes and Linval Joseph on Friday.

Aside from those two defenders, the Vikings have several other key free agents hitting the market this offseason. Edge rusher Everson Griffen is a free agent, as is safety Anthony Harris, plus cornerbacks Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander. And that trio of starters isn’t even the end of it when it comes to the secondary. Rotational safeties Andrew Sendejo and Jayron Kearse are also scheduled to be free agents. 

With Minnesota brushing up against the cap and having already devoted a large contract to star safety Harrison Smith, it’s unlikely that they’d find a way to keep all of these players. Because they have three safeties hitting free agency, it’s easy to assume they’re not going to keep all of them. There’s been a lot of speculation surrounding Harris, since he is considered one of the top safeties on the market, but there has been a bit less regarding Kearse. 

And so, one Vikings fan assumed that if the team were to lose Harris, it would have an opportunity to re-sign Kearse, who would then slide into a full-time starting role. That fan was skeptical, though, that the team would want to retain Kearse. But it turns out, the fan had it backwards. It’s Kearse who doesn’t want to be back in Minnesota. 

Kearse, 26, is coming off of his best NFL season, but even while seeing the field for the largest number of snaps in his four-year career, he still played on less than 25 percent of the Vikings’ total defensive snaps. It would not be surprising if he simply wanted to leave for a larger role elsewhere. If he does, though, and if the Vikings also can’t manage to re-sign Harris, they will suddenly be left with a gaping hole in the secondary, in addition to the other roster voids they already need to fill elsewhere. 

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