Sanford gets his second chance

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 24, 2012 - 11:29 PM

Mistral Raymond's ankle injury puts safety Jamarca Sanford back where he wants to be -- in the starting lineup.

hide

Vikings safety Jamarca Sanford

Photo: , Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Jamarca Sanford has been hoping to get another opportunity to show the Vikings he should start at safety. Well, here it is.

The team got some good news Monday. The right ankle injury suffered by Mistral Raymond at the end of the first quarter of Sunday's victory over San Francisco is significant but not as devastating as first feared. There is no fracture, and no surgery is required. Raymond, who was hurt when he tried to plant his foot and tackle 49ers running back Frank Gore, was diagnosed with a severe bone bruise and what is believed to be a dislocation of the ankle.

How much time Raymond will miss won't be known until he visits a specialist, coach Leslie Frazier said -- but he won't be lost for the season. Until Raymond returns, Sanford will start alongside rookie safety Harrison Smith beginning Sunday at Detroit.

This is the opportunity Sanford has been looking for since a training camp battle ended with Raymond atop the depth chart.

"It hurt. I'd be lying to you if I said it didn't," said Sanford, who started 15 games last season. "But you just have to be strong.''

Sanford said he was shaken by the coaches' decision, and needed the help of friends and teammates Percy Harvin, Jasper Brinkley and Erin Henderson to get him through it.

"It took me a minute to get over it," Sanford said. "The first three days I was just, I mean, I was just dead. Wondering, looking for an answer. What didn't I do right? What did I do wrong?''

Sanford, who is in his fourth NFL season, is a physical, hard-hitting player, especially against the run. But he was a liability in pass coverage last season.

Sanford said he said he spent his offseason trying to improve in that area. It remains to be seen if that will bear fruit, or if the Vikings defense will suffer.

Sunday, Sanford finished tied for third in tackles with six. He struggled to cover tight end Vernon Davis early but improved as the game went on. Early in the fourth quarter, Sanford stripped the ball from Gore.

"I thought he did a good job when he got in there," Frazier said. "He had the one play down the sidelines with Davis, who presents a lot of problems for anybody. But other than that, he tackled well. He was good on his assignments."

Frazier also praised Sanford for keeping a good attitude -- and staying ready to play -- after getting the news he wouldn't start. For Sanford, that wasn't so easy.

Especially, he said, after spending the summer trying to improve. Usually a weight room fanatic, Sanford said he did more cross-training and flexibility work during the offseason, also working on conditioning. For the first time, he concentrated on his core, stressing flexibility so he could play lower and be more explosive. He slimmed down a little after the coaches told him to prepare do cover tight ends more often. And then, as camp ended, came the news Raymond would start.

"The guys who helped me stay strong were Percy and Jasper and Erin," he said. "They stayed in my ear and kept talking to me. I just kept working, preparing every week like I was going to play, hoping my opportunity would come up, and it came. Now I'm just trying to take advantage of it."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago Cubs - WP: B. Parker 6 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: J. Hoover 4
Philadelphia - WP: D. Buchanan 9 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: M. Garza 1
Oakland - WP: S. Kazmir 6 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 1
Chicago WSox - LP: R. Belisario 3 FINAL
Boston - WP: A. Miller 4
Washington - LP: G. Gonzalez 3 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 4
NY Yankees - LP: M. Thornton 3 FINAL
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 9
Atlanta - WP: A. Harang 3 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 1
Pittsburgh - WP: E. Volquez 9 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: S. Miller 1
LA Angels - WP: H. Santiago 15 FINAL
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 6
Detroit - WP: D. Smyly 16 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Guthrie 4
San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne 1 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 2
Minnesota - WP: Y. Pino 4 FINAL
Seattle - LP: T. Wilhelmsen 2
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 7/12/14 5:30 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 7/12/14 8:30 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 7/17/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Toronto 7/18/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Hamilton 7/18/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Montreal 7/19/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Connecticut 68 FINAL
Indiana 72
Minnesota 91 FINAL
Tulsa 85
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close