For the first time in what seems a life time, the Minnesota Vikings have solid depth and talent in the defensive secondary. CB Xavier Rhodes is becoming a shutdown corner, Terrence Newman and Captain Munnerlyn are solid, experienced vets, and 2015 first round pick Trae Waynes has looked very good when he has been on the field.
Backing them up at safety is budding star Harrison Smith and...
Robert Blanton Andrew Sendejo Antone Exum. Well, maybe Exum. See...and this is a funny story, you'll like it...the Vikings really have no idea who should start next to Smith, because not one of the three aforementioned guys have jumped to to be the 'least worst' of the three.
Wait, that's not funny. It's kind of terrifying. Let's review. Robert Blanton started training camp and the pre-season as the number one guy. He was listed as the starter in week one...and then Andrew Sendejo started, which was kind of a surprise. Mike Zimmer said the situation was 'fluid', he just felt more comfortable with Sendejo out there, so Blanton, who practiced with the first team the whole season up until that point, didn't start.
Sendejo played the first two games running around like a horny teenager in a brothel--100 miles an hour in 100 different directions going after anything that made eye contact. And Sendejo is also a big hitter, like Smith. Unlike Smith, who levels opposing players, Sendejo's specialty hit is 'KNOCK OUT MY TEAMMATE WOOOOOO'.
Knock out my teammate is the hit Sendejo put on Rhodes against
Detroit San Diego, literally knocking him silly.
Admittedly, Knock out my teammate is a unique play, but generally terrible one for your defense, and one Mike Zimmer didn't like. So he yanked Sendejo, and put Blanton back in. Although Blanton has yet to master the knock out my teammate specialty play, he still specializes in the 'get to where I need to be really late' play. That's also not a very good football play, as opponents generally gain lots and lots of yards when players employ this strategy.
See also Greenway, Chad. Minus that bitchin' 91 yard pick six, AMIRITE?
Which brings us to Antone Exum, the most recent candidate for starting safety opposite Smith. Earlier in the year, Zimmer was asked whether or not Exum could see the field, and Zimmer, in the most Zim Tzu-ish answer ever said he could, if he ever figured out what he was supposed to do. So, to recap, the three biggest plays the Vikings safeties not named Harrison Smith have in their inventory are:
1) KNOCK OUT MY TEAMMATE WOOOOOO
2) Get to where I need to be really late and give up lots of yards when I get there
3) Head is up ass
Yesterday, it looked like Exum was working hard to cure the rectal-cranial inversion, and he might be the next guy up. Zimmer hasn't come right out and said Exum will be the guy, but he did say that he was improving. So there's a decent chance that Exum might have worked his way into the starting lineup. We won't know until Sunday, though, so stay tuned and stay vigilant.
I just want to know what his signature play will be.