Frazier: Johnson, Sanford “Nip And Tuck” In Safety Competition

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 25, 2010 – 1:50 pm

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.

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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 11 Comments »

11 Responses to “Frazier: Johnson, Sanford “Nip And Tuck” In Safety Competition”

  1. By Damon on Aug 25, 2010 | Reply

    Jamarca should get the starting job but Johnson should get switched over to Free Safety for Williams because williams is the weak link in the Vikings Defense

  2. By mike on Aug 25, 2010 | Reply

    i agree williams is more of a small linebacker than a cover safety! it would have been great if we had drafted tayor mays in the first round then got cookie in the second, or we could have drafted pat robinson and cookie and moved winfeild to fs ! i think that is the weakest spot at fs… id rather have the unproven abdullah than williams cause his coverage range and just flat out athelticsm are much more greater than madieu williams…saints ,pats jets, too many passing strong teams on the schedule to have a slow and stiff player playing underneth or on top of the coverage too many awesome athletes to play againt and forget about man to man on any of the tight ends we play!! we got a big time list of teams that know we are the big boys on the block and they all think that the packers are an overall better team…even with our uncertainty at fs they better pack a f@#$ing lunch!!!!!!!

  3. By vikingsfansince98 on Aug 26, 2010 | Reply

    i have been wanting antoine to safety for awhile. Well especially after the whole foot thing. but i would also like if it comes down to it cedric griffen to be moved there if he can not fully comeback to the corner he was. check out his highlights from texas. he can hit HARD.

  4. By Malte on Aug 26, 2010 | Reply

    you call the jets a pass happy team? last year they had 2800 yards passin and was number 1 running.. they don’t pass as their first option.. the will run if on 1st and 2nd down like 80 % of the time..

  5. By vikingsfansince98 on Aug 26, 2010 | Reply

    yeah jets are probably one of the worst pass teams that we play. your whole post now sounds ignorant from that statement

  6. By vikesfaninKS on Aug 26, 2010 | Reply

    I don’t see how his post seems ignorant. There gonna be way better at passing now that they got Santonio Holmes.

  7. By WORLDLYVIKFAN on Aug 26, 2010 | Reply

    KS- it does seem ignorant to bash Williams for not being able to cover and being a small linebacker, then turn around and say Taylor Mays should have been the Vikings first round pick, even more so when he didn’t get drafted til the 49th pick and 4 other safety/CBs where drafted before him. Mays is the definition of bad cover safety that should be more of a LB. Also, trying to use revisionist history on the draft (especially one that was just a few months ago) always looks somewhat ignorant. For one, there is no way Cook would have been at the bottom of the 2nd round for the Vikings to draft (the Ravens are one of several teams that contacted the Rams and Vikings to move up and draft Cook) and Robinson has been invisible while playing from Greg Williams doghouse in NO. I for one am glad the Vikings avoided his extremely inconsistent play.
    I’ll also quote Frazier, “Winfield will NOT be moved to safety”. People need to move past this. It would be difficult enough to switch positions for any player, let alone after playing at one spot for 12 years. People seem to think safety and corner back are interchangeable positions or that if you are a slow corner you’ll be better at safety which just isn’t true. Their are different techniques and reads for each individual spot in the secondary and moving a guy from a spot he is comfortable playing to one he is unfamiliar with will just slow him down more. Winfield is way more valuable as a corner/nickel back and he won’t be moved from those spots.

  8. By Jordan Lawson on Aug 26, 2010 | Reply

    all i gotta say is u got chris cook 6’2 212 pounds pretty big try him at fs why not he has an advantage with his weight and height wht you think vikings fans…

  9. By WORLDLYVIKFAN on Aug 27, 2010 | Reply

    Lawson – Much like Winfield, if they are killing it at corner, what good does it do to move him to a different position? Plus with the larger number of tall (6’2”+) WRs in the NFC North and the NFL at large and the Tampa 2 scheme that the Vikings run, his size is of great advantage at his natural position of corner back. It allows him to jam WRs at the line and play the outside runs (a staple of the Tampa 2) and he has shown the athleticism to cover receivers down field. Leave him at CB.

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