S Jamarca Sanford played 4 collegiate seasons at Ole Miss and during that time he led the Southeastern Conference (SEC), one of the most-respected leagues in college football, in tackles.
The Vikings made Sanford a 7th round selection in last April’s draft and since then, the small-statured but big-hitting safety has displayed his aggressive style in the NFL.
Sanford began his time with the Vikings as a reserve at safety but quickly became a regular on the Vikings kick coverage units. He finished the 2009 regular season 4th on the team with 17 special teams tackles and he also forced 1 forced fumble.
But Sanford also finished the season playing more regularly on defense. When S Tyrell Johnson was forced to miss Week 14 due to injury, Sanford stepped into the lineup and added 4 tackles in a defensive effort that kept Bengals QB Carson Palmer to just 94 yards passing.
Then last Sunday against the Giants, Sanford was inserted into the defensive lineup at times in place of Johnson. Early in the 2nd quarter with New York facing a 3rd and 1 from their own 44, Sanford filled a running lane to stuff RB Ahmad Bradshaw for a loss of 2, forcing the Giants to punt away on 4th down.
“We wanted to get Jamarca in there a little bit and get his feet wet,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said after the game. “He has done a good job with the snaps that he’s had. He’s played extremely well, and continued to play extremely well today on special teams. He’s a good ball player, a good hitter.”
Childress was then asked if he has any designs to make a change at the safety position, but the Vikings head coach said no such plans were in the works. And while there doesn’t appear to be a need to make a change to the starting lineup, there’s nothing wrong with knowing you have multiple players capable of performing in a given spot.
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