The Minnesota Vikings defense has been a question mark for a while now. One of the major issues has been the pass defense in the secondary. Harrison Smith will most likely be one of the starters at safety, but past that, the position is in doubt.
Here are the candidates their current situation:
- I had very high hopes for Sendejo after he played well last year when thrust into a starting role because of injuries, but this year he’s on the PUP list and doesn’t look like he’ll be contributing any time soon. Although head coach Mike Zimmer says Sendejo could be back as soon as Monday, a nagging back injury has kept him on the shelf and he has yet to practice this year.
Dec 8, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Marcus Sherels (35) celebrates his interception with safety Mistral Raymond (41) against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
- While defensive coordinator George Edwards thinks Raymond is a little undersized to be a safety, he worked with the first team yesterday when Robert Blanton went down. In what seems like a repeat of last year, Raymond and Jamarca Sanford seem to be fighting for the same kind of job in this defense. With all the injuries, just being healthy could be enough to make the team.
- Although he’s been seeing first team reps in practice, a lot of Minnesota Vikings fans feel that Sanford has been given enough opportunities to be a starter in the NFL. The main reason he’s been seeing those reps is because of the injury to Robert Blanton, who seems to be impressing this offseason. Otherwise, he’d be working with Kurt Coleman in the second team.
- Exum has been encouraging, but he’s still a rookie that will need to adjust to the speed and power of the NFL game. While his play in camp is encouraging, he has a lot of room to go before he should be considered for the starting job. However, if he continues at this pace, he could show enough potential to beat out the competition.
- Another Vikings bitten by the injury bug. This time, Blanton is dealing with a hamstring issue that we are told there is no real timetable for. Blanton is another one of the guys on the team that made the most of his opportunity when the other starters were out. If Blanton can get healthy, we shouldn’t rule him out as a possible starter.
- Although Coleman has been getting second team reps in camp, he hasn’t seem to broken into the first team yet. That is frustrating since he is one of the veteran players that the Minnesota Vikings brought in and hoped to make a big impression in camp. However, with all the current veterans on the team getting reps ahead of him, that isn’t a good sign for his future with the Vikings.
- Bishop has been making a name for himself with the Minnesota Vikings coaching staff. He’s been getting looks in nickel defensive sets, but not as much in the normal base sets. It sounds like Bishop is a good wild card candidate to make the team, but not one that I’d wager will end up with one of the starting safety gigs.
So far, the starting job opposite Harrison Smith seems completely up in the air. Which one of these guys will step up and take the job? Will one of the current injured players be healthy enough soon to come back and win the position or has another player already impressed the staff enough? We’ll know a lot more when preseason games begin and the depth charts are released.