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Gerald Hodges, Robert Blanton Confirm Starting Status

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of positions on the Minnesota Vikings' defense that may have been up in the air have, apparently, been filled.

After today's practice, both Gerald Hodges and Robert Blanton confirmed that they are set to start at middle linebacker and safety, respectively.

Hodges was a late entrant into a middle linebacker derby that was originally thought to be a two-horse race between Audie Cole and rookie Eric Kendricks. He did get the start in the final two preseason games at middle linebacker, and appears to have done enough to get the spot all to himself.

"That's the way it's looking, yes sir," Hodges said Tuesday. "I feel great. I feel excited."

Audie Cole, who had been battling for the starting job along with rookie Eric Kendricks, also confirmed the move on Hodges starting. Cole said he doesn't know yet what his role will be.

. . .

"The goal is just to help my team and do whatever the coaches need me to do to go out and get a victory," Hodges said of the game against the 49ers.

As far as Blanton, his status being up in the air may have been more of a function of a fan base wanting to see him replaced than a function of his actual performance on the field. Though he did have his down moments in 2014, by most metrics he was an average-at-worst performer at safety, and it doesn't appear any of the competition. . .which included Antone Exum and Andrew Sendejo. . .did enough to displace him.

With that, it doesn't appear that there is a whole lot of mystery left as to who will be starting on the defensive side of the ball for the Minnesota Vikings this Monday night.

EDIT: The above quotes from Gerald Hodges came from an article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press by Chris Tomasson. That article is linked above as well as right here.