The Vikings New Secondary
The Minnesota Vikings secondary will look a little different in 2012. Last year, Cedric Griffin was coming back from multiple knee surgeries, Chris Cook was out with a pending court case, and Antoine Winfield was out most of the season with injuries, leaving the Vikings to play second and third string players. This offseason, the Vikings released Cedric Griffin, and Asher Allen unexpectedly retired from the NFL. The only returning players are Winfield (back for his 15th season) and last year’s starting safeties Jamarca Sanford and Mistral Raymond.
Free Agent Pickups
Chris Carr – Carr was an undrafted free agent out of Boise State in 2005. Carr has played 3 seasons with the Oakland Raiders, 1 with the Tennessee Titans, and the last 3 with the Baltimore Ravens. In 2010, Carr started all 16 games and had 54 tackles with 2 interceptions. Last year he played in 9 games, starting 1 and ended the season with 16 tackles and 0 interceptions. The lack of production last year was mainly due to a hamstring problem that lingered most of the season. Carr is not the answer to the Vikings poor secondary, but he will help build some depth.
Zach Bowman – Bowman was a 2008 fifth round pick out of Nebraska. He started 12 games in 2009 and had six interceptions that year for the Chicago Bears. Since the 2009 season he’s only had 3 starts, but played or was active for 29 games. During that two year span, he totaled 42 tackles and didn’t have an interception. The Vikings hope they get the player from 2009, not the player from the last two seasons.
Harrison Smith – The Vikings didn’t trade back into the 1st round to have Smith sit on the bench. One of the starting safety spots is his to lose. Smith played multiple roles at Norte Dame and should be the best safety on the field from day one.
Josh Robinson – The speedy cornerback (CB) out of Central Florida will bring much needed speed to the Vikings secondary. The Robinson pick surprised me a little do to him being a more man to man type CB, instead of a Cover 2 type CB. But from the way it sounds, the Vikings will be trying to get away from the Cover 2 a little more often this year.
Robert Blanton – Blanton played CB for Notre Dame last year, but the Vikings will be moving him to safety and letting him compete with Sanford and Raymond for the other starting safety spot next to Harrison Smith. Blanton is 6’1”, 208 lbs and runs a 4.7 40. He is a smart player who knows what his strengths and weaknesses are.
If the depth chart of the Vikings secondary was released today, the starters would most likely be Winfield, Cook, Smith and Sanford. Carr could fight for the #2 CB spot, but most likely will compete with Robinson for the #3 spot. At safety, Blanton will be given the chance to try and beat out Sanford and last year’s rookie starter Mistral Raymond. Overall, the Vikings secondary has a lot of new faces and should have better overall depth, but how these starters perform will be instrumental in how well the Vikings do this year.