Sanford, Smith Step Up For Vikings Defense

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 2, 2012 – 6:37 am

The Vikings entered their contest versus Detroit last week with a rookie (Harrison Smith) and a backup (Jamarca Sanford) starting at safety.  The Lions entered the game with the NFL’s top-ranked passing offense, a 5,000-yard passer from a season ago (Matthew Stafford) and the most dominant receiver in the game (Calvin Johnson).

On paper, the advantage was clearly in favor of Detroit. On the field throughout the game, though, the advantage shifted quickly to Smith and Sanford. The Vikings safety duo was active all game, combining for 4 passes defensed. And even when they couldn’t make a play on the ball, they made Lions receivers pay for making the catch. Smith and Sanford combined for 9 tackles on the day, and on at least two occasions they combined to make hits that forced a Lions offensive player to drop the ball.

The first instance came on 2nd and goal from the Minnesota 13 late in the 2nd quarter. Stafford dropped back to pass and had a clean pocket. He delivered a strike to Johnson in the back of the end zone. Johnson had the ball in his hands, but then was hit by both Smith and Sanford simultaneously, causing him to drop the ball and remain on the ground for a few moments after the play. The Lions were forced to kick a FG two plays later.

The second instance came in the 3rd quarter, with the Lions driving into Vikings territory. RB Mikel Leshoure caught a pass from Stafford and turned upfield. He was met by Smith, who stopped his progress, and then Sanford came in with a hit that caused Leshoure to fumble. Sanford emerged from the pile with the ball, tallying a forced fumble and a fumble recovery on the same play.

Those are the types of plays that Vikings fans have long desired to see from the team’s safeties. And those are the types of plays that can make opponents think twice about attacking the middle of the field.

“I think it definitely sends a message,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said on Monday. “I mean, the hits that Jamarca (Sanford) delivered yesterday along with what Harrison did, both of those safeties did a real good job of putting some stuff on tape that opposing offenses will look at and hopefully, think twice about going in those areas. I think it does send a message.”

To develop the kind of reputation that will truly make opposing offenses adjust their plans when facing the Vikings, Smith and Sanford will need to string together impressive performances. They’re off to a good start right now. Over the last two games, they’ve combined for 24 tackles, 5 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery.

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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 25 Comments »

25 Responses to “Sanford, Smith Step Up For Vikings Defense”

  1. By BlueBird7. on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    Ok, what do I have to say? Oh yes, for all of you that wanted the Cowboys to beat the Bears, I ask you again, Why? For the Vikings to move up in the NFC North?

    I say again, Let the Vikings do that on their own!

  2. By Rick on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    BlueBird7 I hear what your saying but it would have been nice to have the breathing room in the event the vikings stumble and can you honestly sit there and tell me you were cheering for the bears last night?

  3. By BlueBird7. on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    Yes, I was Rick…I do not like ANYTHING about the Cowboys!

    If the Vikings”stumble” then I suggest they start back to page 1 and keep playing as they have the last 2 games. Few fresh, new plays would br nice.

  4. By Trosene on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    I’m with Rick on this one. If you are a Vikings fan it goes without saying you CANNOT root for the Bears. Ever.

  5. By OTKalil2012 on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    Vikings need a QUALITY receiver to help Harvin and Simpson in the pa ssing game !!…

    Rick Spielman…Not sure if you are noticing, but this team is CONTENDING this season !!…

    Get rid of some of the dead weight WR position…And get Ponder another weapon on offense…

    PREDICTION !!!…Spielman does just that…Finds a solid young WR to help out Simpson and Harvin…And makes a trade soon…

    Time to start earning that big GM money Rick…Find a team that is having a bad season…And get us another WR with some mojo !!!…

    That could be just enough to tip the scales the Vikings way this season…And maybe even further ???…

    It is the GM’s job to make those decisions…

    What do you think Rick ???…Is it time to sit down and chat with Zygi ???…If you are going to make the move…Do it soon enough for that player to learn the playbook…And gain your team and fans some more confidence…

    Go Spielman and Zygi !!…GO VIKINGS !!!!!…

  6. By BlueBird7 on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    Trosene, I am not a Bears fan. Sounds like you could be a cowboys fan, tho.

  7. By BlueBird7 on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    Just like the Saints/GreenBay game. I hated both teams, with a passion!
    Really didn’t give a hoot who won or lost.

    If you want the Vikings to stay on top of the North, Then play like it!!

  8. By OTKalil2012 on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply


    This game is just as much men tal as physical…

    Look at the Vikings winning against the 49ers…

    Did the Lions and Packers do well against the 49ers ???..

    No…But the fact the Vikings whipped the 49ers…Did that wn have an effect on the Lions game planning last Sunday ??…Or play into their heads a little ??..

    Point is…I want to beat that division rivals best on Sunday…I don’t want to hear…We only won because Shaun Hill played for an injured Stafford…

    Momentum is huge winning divisions…Any bu mps in the road making for losses for a division rival…Any loss is a good loss against a division rival…I don’t care who be ats them…

  9. By 61Vikings on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    I hate the Cowboys, but I hate the teams in our division even more!! Defense over the last two weeks has been great, let’s keep it up Vikes!!!!

  10. By Don_Pisto on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    The date: December 29, 1975
    The players: Roger Staubach and Drew Pearson

    I was just a kid, but that day is the official day that I became a forever Dallas Cowboys hater. Maybe some other Vikings fans remember tat play.

    Last night, it was a pleasure watching the Cowboys get spanked at home. The look on Jerry Jones face last night: priceless.

    Vikings don’t need any help, from other games, for position in the division. No backing into the playoffs. They can do it on their own.

  11. By OTKalil2012 on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    Who would have thought…

    With Smith and Sanford playing so well…And Mistral Raymond still coming back a little later this season…

    The Vikings have some depth at saftey ???…

  12. By 61Vikings on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    Sanford and Smith played well together, but most of all they were physical with the Lions receivers!! I’m loving the way this defense is coming together!!

  13. By Alex on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    OTKalil2012, what do you think are the chances Webb gets moved in a trade package for a wr?
    I think he has some value because he is similar to Tebow but we would in my mind have to give some draft picks as well for a good receiver.

  14. By Muskylove on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    Look I hate the Packers and the Aints… But I would have like to see the Packers lose, I still feel as if we can beat the Bears, but the Packer… still up in the air about that one, we will just have to see later in the year. Still hate the Saints though.

    I also wanted the bears to lose as well to keep MN at the top by themselves. I saw that Bluebird wanted the vikes to do it on their own… OK well you need a little help from other teams loosing also. We need the other side of the NFL to ebat our division teams also to get a little push. MN can’t do it on their own, not saying they can’t win games, I’m saying that if everyone else wins games… where does that put us? Not at the top…. So Bears… will win next week, so will Pack and DET has a bye…

    I am most excited about Kyle Rudolph and Harrison Smith. THose two are going to come up big for us this season. Just gotta get Jerome Simpson more shots down field and we should be set. I don’t think we need a third reciever with Rudolph, Simpson and Harvin. Ponder can only spread the ball so much. thats what Jon Carlson is for as well. Aromashadu has come up big in the first few games, see how he continues to grow. With Peterson getting more carries I think the O is right where it should be for week five.

  15. By OTKalil2012 on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply


    Even though I am not a Webb fan…The truth is…The Vikings are very much contending this season in the division…And possibly even further ???…

    Webb is the number 2 back up, WITH at least some real regular season game experience…You can’t trade Webb..Unless something to that effect changes…

    But could the Vikings bring back Sage Rosenthalls to back up Ponder…If a trade was offered for Webb ???…

    At this point…With the Vikings being in the thick of things, within the division…You need ALL our back ups to keep learning the system right now…Webb included…

  16. By LilBuckDaDon on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    I sugest that we keep Jamarca Sanford and Harrison at safety. Because mistral raymond is not a hard hitter like Sanford. And sanford forces turnovers at the right time.

    Trade a 3rd round pick and 4th to the chiefs and get Bowe

    And in the 1st round of the 2013 draft a Big strong fast linebacker similiar to Patrick willis

  17. By dee jay born on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    i like Harrison Smith & Jamarcus Sanford at safety for their physicality,but i still have to see if Jamarcus gets better in coverage situations.i think Mistral Raymond is better in that area,but Jamarcus is definitely a bigger hitter and plays the run better.curious to see how things work out when Mistral comes back off injury..

  18. By Troutdaddy on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    Loved the hit Sanford put on Megatron… Still wondering where Cook is at? Saw a couple of blocks and stuff, but still waiting for him to step up like he has touted… As far as where we stand right now and our division, to say that the Vikings shouldn’t need any help from other teams losing is not valid. Regardless of which team you are, you should take help any way you can get it to stay on top. I agree- I am never going to hope teams in our division win. I hope they get beat by everyone else. As much as I hate the cowboys too- I am still not going to root for anhyone in our division to win when they play them. You let the chips fall where they may and say “Thank you very much” for when the ball bounces in our direction. Come Playoff time you won;t hear teams complaining about getting help advancing from another teams loss…

  19. By LilBuckDaDon on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    I think that josh robinson is our best corner.. and I think if everson griffen dosent start at defensive end then he should start at defensive tackle right along with kevin .. and I think our front 4 would be the best in the league

  20. By chields9 on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    i live the way they are playing, but WHAT IF teams decide to go to the middle, with TE’s instead, much bigger people to bring down, eventually smith and sanford will get tired and overwhelmed, they need to work on their man coverage BEFORE we say we have very good safties, they’d better work on that, but keep up with the physicallity as well, but i think sanford should start the rest of the season, he started 15 last season, and he’s got XP at the position to help smith develop, let raymond sit out this season to take a few mental reps. SKOL vikes

  21. By PurplHaze on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    OTK … I think we need to see more of Wright. He’s hardly been on the field at all.

    I think we can definitely do without Jenkins taking up a spot on our roster. He’s shown little (if any) promise in my opinion.

  22. By LilBuckDaDon on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    I think that our 3 wide recievers should be Percy Harvin , Jerome Simpson, Jarius wright. And release Micheal Jenkins and Stephon burton. And have Devin Arhomashodu as ur 4th wide reciever and bring in another veteran reciever who can produce and impact our passing game

  23. By Wally0390 on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    I personally think Aromashadu should be getting the majority of the snaps as the number three…Micahel Jenkins hasn’t shown much and Aromashadu has good speed and solid hands…I also think Carlson will be a valuable piece going down the stretch…As long as our defense can continue to limit the big plays and continue to play aggressive we will be in every game!! SKOL VIKINGS!!!!

  24. By Vikeman56 on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    I agree with wally. Aromashadou is better than Jenkins.
    If Sanford keeps this up he might just take the job away from Mistral Raymond. But he has to keep it up. If he stumbles now Raymond will take back the job.

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