NFL

The Vikings have made Harrison Smith the NFL's highest-paid safety

Dec 27, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) returns an interception for a touchdown during the second quarter against the New York Giants at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 27, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) returns an interception for a touchdown during the second quarter against the New York Giants at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

One of the young lynchpins of the Minnesota Vikings' improving defense will be in the fold for the foreseeable future.

Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith, who had been signed only through 2016 but had been participating in offseason activities despite his desire for a contract extension, signed that extension Monday.

We have locked up @HarriSmith22 with a contract extension!

MORE: https://t.co/eIrgQFoGf9 pic.twitter.com/Ag3oooCjhi

— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) June 6, 2016

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The five-year, $51.25 million deal make him the NFL's highest-paid safety.

At $10.25m per year, Harrison Smith is the new highest paid safety on a per-year basis, though Eric Berry has a $10.8m tag to sign.

— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) June 6, 2016

Smith, 27, has been a starter since the team selected him 29th overall in the 2012 draft and is known as one of the NFL's hardest-hitting defensive backs. He helped lead the Vikings to an NFC North title in 2015.