Andrew Sendejo starts for Vikings in place of Robert Blanton


Starting lineups were just announced for Vikings-49ers and there’s one surprise for Minnesota: Andrew Sendejo will be starting at safety instead of Robert Blanton.

It was believed that Blanton had locked down the starting safety job in preseason but evidently that belief was erroneous.

Blanton probably didn’t help his case much by taking bad angles on a pair of busted plays in the final two preseason games.

Those plays aside, Blanton is generally considered to be a better coverage safety than Sendejo.

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So why Sendejo instead of Blanton? Mike Zimmer seems to like Sendejo’s physicality. He has a thing for thumpers.

Robert Blanton may be a lot of things but he will never be mistaken for a thumper.

Of course we remember that late last year Zimmer pulled this same switch, benching a healthy Blanton in favor of Sendejo. This at a time when Blanton was being trumpeted by PFF as a top safety.

Well we know Mike Zimmer doesn’t listen to PFF.

The Vikings give up a little in coverage in order to have Sendejo’s hard-hitting presence on the field. We’ll see if the 49ers are able to exploit Sendejo throwing the ball.

If Sendejo gets burned early, Zim could have the quick hook and put Blanton back in.

Don’t forget that second-year safety Antone Exum is still waiting in the wings. Exum is probably the most athletic among the trio of safeties who competed this preseason.

Why not Exum? Mike Zimmer doesn’t fully trust him yet. But that trust will come and eventually Exum will be in there.

Next: Vikings v. 49ers: Five players to watch

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