The Minnesota Vikings free safety position is locked up, as third-year pro Harrison Smith is the star of the team’s defensive backfield and is one of the league’s better all-round safeties. He missed plenty of time last season with a turf toe, but he’ll be back as the lynchpin of a secondary that will, hopefully, be a much-improved unit under first-year head coach Mike Zimmer. While the FS position was an easy one to pencil in, the strong safety position was the subject of an all-out position battle.
Per the St. Paul Pioneer Press’s Chris Tomasson, it “looks like” Robert Blanton has won the Vikings SS job, and this isn’t a surprise considering he was the projected starter. Both he and Jamarca Sanford dealt with injuries this offseason, but Blanton prevailed after missing a few preseason games with a hamstring injury.
Blanton is just 24, and he and Smith are familiar Notre Dame products with good tackling ability. In order to lock up the gig, Blanton had to beat out Sanford, Andrew Sendejo, Chris Crocker, and Kurt Coleman (rookie Antone Exum is very underrated, but he didn’t have a realistic chance at starting this year). Last season, he recorded 62 tackles but no passes defended, so we’ll see if the top run-support SS can avoid being a liability in coverage.