Pro Bowl teammates Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr are good friends on and off the field, and it was Smith on Tuesday finding himself surprised by how emotional he got when talking about Barr's decision to re-sign with the Vikings rather than go forward with a contract offer from the Jets.
“I was pretty pumped about it," Smith said, finding himself choked up in the moment. "A guy making a choice like that, it was pretty big. It doesn’t happen a lot in pro sports, even if it’s a couple million dollars, which means different things to different people. For him, it meant staying here.”
Another reporter asked: "Is it emotional for you?"
"I don't really know, I didn't think that would happen," Smith responded with a grin.
“He’s one of my best friends. Honestly, I wanted him to go get as much money as he could make. Pro sports, it’s how things happen. I obviously wanted him here as well. So I wasn’t going to be upset one way or the other. It’s an emotional game and you make friendships and you make plays together and you’re pumped for the guy next to you. It’s why I play.”
Barr gave the Jets a verbal commitment to leave Minnesota as a free agent last month, but flipped his decision a day later (March 12) and took less money – $67.5 million over five years with $33 million guaranteed – to stay with the team that drafted him ninth overall in 2014.
Players arrived at Vikings headquarters in Eagan this week for the first set of offseason workouts. After next week's NFL Draft (April 25-27), players will return for organized team activities May 21-23, May 28-30, and June 3-6.
Mandatory minicamp is set to be held June 11-13.
Training camp dates have not been announced.
Check back tonight after the NFL reveals the entire 2019 regular season schedule for the Vikings.