One of the most-talked about position battles heading into 2010 Verizon Vikings Training Camp was the starting safety position opposite Madieu Williams, with Tyrell Johnson and Jamarca Sanford being the primary candidates to fulfill the role. Johnson has been the starter in that role over the past year, but near the end of the 2009 regular season Sanford was given more playing time and even started 1 game for Johnson.
Johnson, selected in the 2nd round of the 2008 NFL Draft, is entering his 3rd year with the club. He was thrust into the starting lineup as a rookie when Williams was sidelined with an injury. Once Williams was healthy again, Johnson reverted back to a reserve role. Then when Darren Sharper left the Vikings via free agency, Johnson was elevated to starter.
Sanford was selected by the Vikings in the 7th round of the 2009 NFL Draft and quickly impressed the Vikings with his special teams ability. Eventually his effort and production on special teams yielded some time on the field with the defense, where he impressed again to a point where he could earn a starting spot for the 2010 season.
Both players, along with fellow S Husain Abdullah, have been rotating in and out of the 1st- and 2nd-team defenses, and Sanford started at S against the San Francisco 49ers in last weekend’s preseason game. The team’s next preseason game is on Saturday night against the Seattle Seahawks at Mall of America Field, and Vikings assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier says that game will be the next step in determining who will start at S for the Vikings.
“We’re going to use this next ballgame as another part of the evaluation and we’re trying to make a decision prior to that September 9 game (season opener),” Frazier explained. “They’re still nip and tuck; Ty (Tyrell Johnson) will get some reps this week, Husain (Abdullah) will get some reps there and Jamarca will as well. Hopefully after this ballgame we’ll come to a conclusion.”
It’s too close to call right now, but expect Johnson to get many of the 1st-team reps on Saturday evening because Sanford got those reps last weekend. How Johnson performs against Seattle will likely resolve the nip and tuck race that is going on right now.
Tags: Jamarca Sanford, Leslie Frazier, Tyrell Johnson
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 11 Comments »