The last two starting position battles has ended with one expected winner (Gerald Hodges at middle linebacker) and one not-so-expected winner (Andrew Sendejo at strong safety).
In addition to tonight’s inactives, the Vikings also have announced that Hodges will start in place of Audie Cole at middle linebacker. This was expected once Hodges was moved from backup outside linebacker to starter in the middle for the last two preseason games. He played well, especially for a guy who had never played a game at middle linebacker in his life.
Blanton, meanwhile, started at strong safety throughout the preseason, but his deficiencies were particularly noticeable in the final two outings. The Vikings obviously lost their patience and turned to Sendejo, a hard-nosed special teams standout who started the final three games a year ago.
Blanton won the starting job by default a year ago. He started the first 13 games, playing every snap in the first 12 games, before an injury sidelined him. His health returned late last season but his starting job didn’t.
It looked like he would win the job by default once again, but the Vikings decided this past week to give Sendejo the shot this year.