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Vikings may start all-rookie, all-Irish safety tandem

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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.”

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45 Responses to “Vikings may start all-rookie, all-Irish safety tandem”
  1. greatminnesotasportsmind says: May 5, 2012 12:33 PM

    Couldn’t be worse than what we had last year.

  2. gergie1957 says: May 5, 2012 12:35 PM

    Smith and Blanton, does’t sound very Irish to me?

  3. latchbeam says: May 5, 2012 12:38 PM

    Great idea… that worked out so well for the Irish last year?!?

  4. tjacks7 says: May 5, 2012 12:39 PM

    underwhelming veteran Mistral Raymond? The guy was a rookie last year!

  5. cdeck1147 says: May 5, 2012 12:41 PM

    Sounds good to me…

  6. sakatak says: May 5, 2012 12:41 PM

    This news has old pervy harvin so excited he fell out of his rowboat.

  7. kingviking414 says: May 5, 2012 12:41 PM

    Sounds great Laddie!

  8. Corybantes says: May 5, 2012 12:43 PM

    As a bears fan, this news pleases me

  9. purpleguy says: May 5, 2012 12:44 PM

    They may eventually be great players, even as rookies, but I nonethelesss suspect that Aaron Rodgers and Jermicheal Finley like this prospect for 2012.

  10. howiefeltersnatch says: May 5, 2012 12:46 PM

    Pat Shurmur is all-Irish too and he should not be a head coach in the NFL.

  11. skinsdan says: May 5, 2012 12:46 PM

    I’m sure they’ll be overrated just like their alma matar.

  12. fngs1 says: May 5, 2012 12:47 PM

    They may end up being good, but playing two rookie safetys in our division may not be a wise choice. I hope they do it for the sake of GB.

  13. vikesfan67 says: May 5, 2012 12:53 PM

    None of it really matters if they can’t get a new satdium deal done…!!!!!

  14. vavikingfan says: May 5, 2012 1:19 PM

    They can’t be any worse and a year’s experience should work wonders.

  15. kevinwi says: May 5, 2012 1:21 PM

    I wouldn’t exactly call Mistral Raymond underwhelming….maybe a lack of offseason stunted his ability to get the hang of the defensive scheme, but it’s clear he has talent….in just a few starts he had a pick and a fumble recovery. My guess is Raymond is a day one starter…his biggest issue is adding a bit of upper body bulk…but he has speed, height and makes plays on the ball.

  16. magnustroi says: May 5, 2012 1:33 PM

    vikesfan67 says: May 5, 2012 12:53 PM

    None of it really matters if they can’t get a new stadium deal done…!!!!!

    True ,No Stadium = San Antonio Vikings … Yes All of you have forgotten the Alamo Dome !!!!!! They could simply move right in since their is No Lease or anything keeping the Vikes in Minnesota… and the league has already approved the required waiver for the Feb deadline which means it no longer applies ….

  17. straighcashhomie84 says: May 5, 2012 1:37 PM


  18. 86chawk says: May 5, 2012 1:38 PM

    Safety Blitz Rodgers every down for the discount double choke!

  19. urfinished says: May 5, 2012 1:40 PM

    Those guys got burnt playing against purdue, navy, and south Florida. I’m sure Aaron Rodgers and stafford will have trouble.

  20. glenne81 says: May 5, 2012 1:43 PM

    what kind of trade value does a top 3 pick have in the upcoming draft?

  21. thankheavenfornumberseven says: May 5, 2012 1:52 PM

    The pieces are in place.

  22. cannonballdookie says: May 5, 2012 1:58 PM

    Their pass defense will be abused historically. Stafford and Rodgers along with Cutler throwing to his new weapons, Minnesota can get to the quarterback but they have nothing resembling a secondary. Is 5000 yards and 50 TD’s given up out of the question?

  23. mianfr says: May 5, 2012 1:58 PM

    Because Notre Dame’s pass defense was so strong…

  24. glac1 says: May 5, 2012 2:18 PM

    It will be a brutal fare well from the organization to the twin cities………..

  25. chiadam says: May 5, 2012 2:37 PM

    Denard Robinson went the length of the field in, like, the final 9 seconds against that secondary. I’m sure they’ll have no issues with Rodgers, Cutler or Stafford.

  26. tarken10 says: May 5, 2012 2:46 PM

    Instead of Blanton, to go with Smith, they should have drafted a guy named Wesson.

  27. 805_9er says: May 5, 2012 2:55 PM

    I bet Luck beats the Vikes in week 2. I can’t see them winning more than 3.

  28. cutlerinception69 says: May 5, 2012 2:56 PM

    They’ll probably be quite comfortable playing in Minny. From one frozen tundra hellhole to another…

  29. saxmachine69 says: May 5, 2012 3:08 PM

    Harrison Smith and Mistral Raymond will be the starting safeties for the Vikings for years to come, heard it here first!

  30. packrulzm says: May 5, 2012 3:16 PM

    Well, having a horrible secondary is not the end of the world. Hell, my Packers went 15-1 and did very, very well against the eventu…………wait, what?

    Oh, scratch that.

    You’re doomed.

  31. berniekosarisgod19 says: May 5, 2012 3:28 PM

    skinsdan says:
    May 5, 2012 12:46 PM
    I’m sure they’ll be overrated just like their alma matar.

    You should not make fun of any higher education and then misspell Alma Mater.

  32. diehardtwinsfan says: May 5, 2012 3:38 PM

    As bad as their secondary was in 2011, I have a tough time believing that this could be any worse. I suspect that one of the existing safties will likely beat out Blanton, but I’m expecting Smith to start from day 1, and I expect that to be an upgrade…

    What I’m surprised hasn’t happened yet is to have winfield move to safety as he’d probably be an above average one. With Carr, Robinson, and Cook, I think the CB position should be fairly decent.

  33. buckybadger says: May 5, 2012 3:47 PM

    This is what happens when Tebow comes into your place and shreds you from the pocket.

  34. beeronthefridge says: May 5, 2012 3:48 PM

    Me lad, I’ll intercept the ball…

  35. chiadam says: May 5, 2012 3:59 PM

    Los Angeles should love these guys.

  36. joeyballgame4 says: May 5, 2012 4:00 PM

    sounds like megatron could be having an irish field day

  37. Justin says: May 5, 2012 4:00 PM

    It seems easy to throw dirt at the Vikings secondary but they were decimated by injuries last year.

    Yes, they were terrible I am not trying to cover that up but at one point last year we were starting something like Asher Allen, Benny Sapp, Jamarca Samford and Mistral Raymond. Raymond appeared to be the most talented as a rookie, converted from CB to safety, without a full offseason because of the lockout.

    Seriously, there is no way our secondary could possibly be worse than last year.

  38. khmer379 says: May 5, 2012 4:10 PM

    @ 805_9ers good one bet luck gonna need luck when he on his back with Jared Allen on top of him am pretty sure the Vikings are pondering how to dismantle his luck too lol

  39. johanneschimpo says: May 5, 2012 4:16 PM

    Those guys don’t look Irish…

  40. canjura says: May 5, 2012 4:26 PM

    Blanton and Smith and are working as the Vikings’ first-team. nice engrish.

  41. bwerickson82 says: May 5, 2012 4:28 PM

    Drew Brees needs an explanation for this.

  42. jmsieli says: May 5, 2012 4:58 PM

    “Ladies and gentlemen, We got ’em”

  43. calbsure says: May 5, 2012 10:33 PM

    The new DC claim to fame is to have young DBs ready to play, guess he will have to earn his paycheck. Reminds of the 49ers with Lott’s rookie year, when they started 3 rookies. It will be interesting to see how they respond.

  44. jessethegreat says: May 6, 2012 11:10 AM

    As long as they can “digest” the playbook, there should be nothing stopping these two from taking both starting spots.

    The Vikes didn’t completely rebuild in one year, but they are making some progress. Their offensive line looks better. That should help both the passing game and the running game. With the offensive controlling a little more of the clock, it will take pressure off the D. The secondary should be improved.

  45. Frazier28/7 says: May 6, 2012 5:42 PM


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