Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Vikings take Notre Dame defensive back Robert Blanton in Round 5

Posted by: under Vikings, John Sullivan Updated: April 28, 2012 - 1:20 PM

After using fourth-round picks on receivers Jarius Wright and Greg Childs and tight end Rhett Ellison, the Vikings moved into Round 5 with an intent to upgrade their defense.

After trading two picks (Nos. 138 and 223) to Detroit for a seventh-rounder (No. 219) and a future fourth-rounder, the Vikings used their one remaining fifth-round pick (139th overall) on Notre Dame defensive back Robert Blanton.

Blanton is versatile enough to play both cornerback and safety and has been lauded for his aggressiveness and savvy. Blanton is now the fith former Fighting Irish standout to join the Vikings, joining forces with first-round pick Harrison Smith, tight ends John Carlson and Kyle Rudolph and center John Sullivan.

Blanton is solid in run support and can excel in both man and zone coverages. There are some questions as to whether he has enough speed to be a standout cornerback on the NFL level. But given his ability to play safety, the Vikings would have the luxury of trying him at both positions and finding the right fit.

Going forward, the Vikings have four picks remaining Saturday -- a sixth-rounder and three seventh-rounders.


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