Welcome to the seemingly annual "Who will be the Vikings' starting safeties this year?".
Harrison Smith: 24 years old. 6'2", 214 pounds.
The good news is that one of the spots is already reserved for Harrison Smith. I gotta say it feels good to know that we have at least on safety of his caliber on the team. Smith can play both the strong and free safety position so this gives the Vikings a little more freedom to decide who will start at the other safety spot.
The other safety spot is a completely different story as it might be the most intense competition for a starting spot on the team. J. Sanford vs. M. Raymond has been a long on-going battle, but R. Blanton might surprise everyone.
Without further ado, underneath are the Vikings' options at safety next to Harrison Smith in order of how think they rank:
1. Jamarca Sanford: 27 years old. 5'10", 200 pounds.
Sanford's strong sides is his aggressiveness, tackling ability and vocal leadership. Sanford is the "veteran" on a very young safety group. It's though to leave that experience off the field, but he needs to work on his coverage skills. He's shorter than you'd like, but more durable than Raymond. I give him the slight nod for the starting position at this moment as he has been the starter in OTA's.
2. Mistral Raymond: 25 years old. 6'1", 202 pounds.
I believe there's a good chance that Raymond will eventually win the starting job over Sanford mainly because he won the battle last season in training camp. Raymond is the better cover player and is a smart player who has shown good instincts. He has a lot of potential, but needs to prove that he can stay healthy.
3. Robert Blanton: 23 years old. 6'1" 200 pounds.
Blanton played corner in college so it's difficult to predict how he'll play this year after he switched to safety last season as a rookie. He has decent size, good speed, and plays with the intensity you like to see. His previous corner experience might give him the edge over the other guys in the passing game, but for us outsiders; Blanton is a strong joker at this point.
4. Andrew Sendejo: 25 years old. 6'1" 200 pounds.
A valuable special teams player and a nice backup. Sendejo was impressive in the limited time he saw the field. Underrated as a backup and like Blanton: a nice developmental player.