Antone Exum lands on Football Outsiders list of future stars


Antone Exum barely played as a rookie and as of right now he is still behind Robert Blanton on the Vikings’ depth chart. But that didn’t stop Football Outsiders from touting Exum as one of their top 25 prospects for 2015.

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The top 25 prospects list, published in the Football Outsiders yearly almanac, is a rundown of under-the-radar players the FO people think could have a major impact in the NFL in coming years.

The list in past years has included players like Geno Atkins, Jamaal Charles, Arian Foster and Elvis Dumervil. So they have a pretty decent track record of spotting future stars before the rest of us know about them.

For Antone Exum to show up at #16 on this year’s list is a pretty big thing. It’s a major endorsement for the former Hokie who once looked like a star in the making but slid to the sixth round in last year’s draft due to injury concerns.

Now Exum just has to get past Robert Blanton on the depth chart and actually start at safety.

Exum actually looked like he might be on his way to pushing Blanton this preseason before a hamstring injury temporarily put him on the shelf. Exum had been improving throughout camp and he really jumped up by picking off Jameis Winston in the Tampa Bay game.

That pick was a big deal for the Vikings who are looking for more of a playmaker at the safety position. Robert Blanton is a stalwart player but he doesn’t really bring big play ability to the table.

Unfortunately, with Exum losing a week to injury, it’s looking less likely that he will be ready to start when the season begins.

Tonight’s preseason game against Dallas will afford Mike Zimmer and his staff the opportunity to get a look at both Blanton and Exum against a team with a pretty good offense. I can’t say what exactly Exum would have to do in order to impress Zimmer enough to leap-frog Blanton, but there’s no question the opportunity is there.

Football Outsiders is certainly impressed by Exum’s ability. He’s fast, he moves well and he showed against Tampa Bay that he can complete the interception when he has a chance.

The issue for Exum thus far with the Vikings has largely been one of discipline and staying within the defense. If Exum can learn to be where he’s supposed to be, I have no doubt he can be a good player.

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