This training camp is largely about identifying which people on the roster have a chance to help Mike Zimmer build a new defensive identity in Minnesota and which do not. So far, Zimmer has tried out a ton of people at various spots, and we’re beginning to get the impression that he’s not entirely impressed with what he’s seeing.
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Safety has been a particularly sticky spot so far for the Vikings, with several players going down to injury, and healthy players not doing a whole lot to win favor. With this situation in mind, the Vikings on Monday made a move to pick up a veteran with whom Mike Zimmer is very familiar, signing former Bengals safety Chris Crocker.
To make room for Crocker on the roster, the Vikings waived DE Rakim Cox.
Crocker was a mainstay of Zimmer’s defense in Cincinnati for six years, and actually has history with Zimmer going back to Zim’s time with the Atlanta Falcons. The 34-year-old has played in 151 career games, amassing 554 tackles, 14.5 sacks, 60 passes defensed and 15 INTs.
Best of all from Zimmer’s point-of-view, he’s a guy who knows the defense and can be a coach on the field.
The move to sign Crocker will naturally lead everyone to conclude that Zimmer is not thrilled with the safeties on the roster. Robert Blanton seemed to be doing a good job before injuring his hamstring, but Jamarca Sanford, Mistral Raymond, Antone Exum and Kurt Coleman have seemingly done little to catch Zimmer’s attention as they’ve all rotated through the free safety spot.
Andrew Sendejo hasn’t even gotten a chance to show Zimmer anything as he was on the PUP list until Monday morning.
Let’s just assume – and I think it’s a safe assumption – that Crocker shoots to the top of the depth chart by virtue of his experience with Zimmer. What does that mean for guys like Raymond and Sanford? Sendejo you assume is safe given his special teams value. This move certainly throws a lot of things into disarray from a roster projection stand point.