The Vikings have the same four safeties this year as they had in 2014, and they’re facing the same issue — who will start next to Harrison Smith?
That answer appears to be Robert Blanton, who worked with the first team through the offseason and preseason, while Andrew Sendejo and Antone Exum served backup roles.
The Vikings have lacked a consistent strong safety to pair with Smith. Blanton won the starting job by default last season and started a career-high 13 games. The Vikings opted not to draft a safety because of the development of Exum, who placed some pressure on Blanton before injuring a hamstring during the preseason.
“There’s some things that Robert [Blanton] does really well and some things that he needs to get better at, so we’ll continue to look at that position and kind of see where that goes,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.
Preventing explosive plays has been the biggest area of emphasis with this unit. During the preseason, the Vikings allowed a 60-yard touchdown catch to Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams because the secondary was out of position and Smith took a poor angle as the last line of defense.
“That’s something from the preseason that you’ve got to eradicate,” Smith said. “It’s preseason, so you try to learn from it, move on and don’t let it happen again.”