The Vikings have yet to officially name a starter at strong safety despite Robert Blanton getting five starts at the position in the preseason and the vast majority of the first-team reps throughout summer practices.
Given that, one would expect Blanton to continue to play alongside fellow safety Harrison Smith in Monday night’s season opener against the 49ers.
But coach Mike Zimmer gave an interesting answer this afternoon when asked about how Blanton has been performing at the strong safety spot.
“He did well,” Zimmer said. “He’s always wanting to make plays. Sometimes Robert needs to just make the safe play as opposed to trying to go get other things. But he’s got his strengths and hopefully we can play to those.”
Zimmer was asked who was most consistent in that battle, which included Andrew Sendejo and Antone Exum. He listed Sendejo first, then Blanton, who started the first 13 games last year before Sendejo replaced him.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that Sendejo, who was with the first team in one situation-specific drill during this morning’s practice, is going to get the start over Blanton on Monday night. But it does suggest that whoever plays the strong safety spot next to Smith could have a short leash.
Exum, meanwhile, flashed during the preseason but the coaching staff needs to see consistency from him before he gets an opportunity to start.
In other news, the Vikings have officially listed fullback Zach Line, nose tackle Shamar Stephen and tight ends MyCole Pruitt and Chase Ford as probable for Monday night’s game on today’s final injury report.
Yes, we are now just two days away from game day. It has been exactly seven weeks since the Vikings reported in Mankato for training camp. And yes, the preseason felt just as long to Zimmer as it does to everyone else.
“It did. I guess it was before we played Tennessee, that week seemed long,” he said. “But I tried to take care of them this week, shortened practice, got in and out quicker so we tried to get our legs back and get ready to go.”