Minnesota Vikings Rumors: Upgrading at Safety a Priority


If things keep going south between Adrian Peterson’s team and the front office, the Minnesota Vikings are going to have a definite need at running back.

More from Vikings Rumors

Another need position for the Vikings, in some people’s eyes, is safety. Last year Harrison Smith performed at a Pro Bowl level but the other safety spot remains a question mark.

Some would argue that Robert Blanton performed well enough alongside Smith to deserve a shot at the starting job in 2015. Pro Football Focus recently rated Blanton among the Vikings’ small number of above-average players, even grading him above defensive stand-outs Anthony Barr and Xavier Rhodes.

But the Vikings themselves do not seem to share this rosy assessment of Blanton’s play. ESPN’s Ben Goessling says he hears that the Vikings are definitely looking for an upgrade at safety this offseason.

When considering names, the natural place to start looking is the draft. Alabama’s Landon Collins seems to be the consensus #1 prospect at the position, and may in fact be the only safety who is worthy of a first round grade.

The second tier of safety prospects includes Louisville’s Gerod Holliman, Samford’s Jaquiski Tartt, Syracuse’s Durrell Eskridge and Michigan State’s Kurtis Drummond.

A wild card in this category is Washington’s talented Shaq Thompson. Though Thompson considers himself a linebacker and is reportedly only being looked at as a linebacker by the Vikings, there are many analysts who believe he would be better off playing safety in the NFL.

Top free agents at the position include UFA Devin McCourty – who will surely be out of the Vikings’ price range – and several intriguing RFAs like Tashaun Gipson, Will Hill and Rodney McLeod.

Of all the options listed above, a player like Collins or Thompson would seem the most appealing. The Vikings could choose to make a run at a lower-priced UFA like Da’Norris Searcy or Darian Stewart, though you could argue a player in that range would not exactly constitute an upgrade over the dependable-if-unspectacular Blanton.

Seems to me the key word here is “upgrade.” In speculating on this matter, one first has to settle on Blanton’s actual value, then identify players who would definitely bring more to the table.

If you’re among those who believes the PFF grades for Blanton, only a top draft pick or free agent would really be an upgrade. If you’re less high on Blanton, you might settle for a mid-range free agent or lower-round pick.

Either way, it seems the Vikings are ready to move on from Blanton as a starter. He showed decent coverage skills and not-bad downhill run support ability last year but he didn’t exactly make a ton of big plays.

More from The Viking Age