The Vikings traded up into the first round to draft Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith, so they clearly expect him to be an opening day starter.
The Vikings also used a fifth-round pick on Smith’s college teammate, Robert Blanton. Blanton played corner for the Fighting Irish, but has been converted to safety. Blanton possesses safety size at 6-foot-1, 208, and was one of the best tackling defensive backs in college football last season.
Blanton and Smith and are working as the Vikings’ first-team safeties at rookie minicamp, and Dan Wiederer of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune suggests Smith and Blanton could stay there into Week One. Their primary competitors will be underwhelming veterans Jamarca Sanford and Mistral Raymond.
“If you take a look at where we ended the seas0n at the safety position, it’s an open competition,” coach Leslie Frazier confirmed. “… We want to really have an open competition.”