Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jamarca Sanford will start atop the safety depth chart, but Mistral Raymond and Robert Blanton will get looks.
Battle: Jamarca Sanford vs. Mistral Raymond
Harrison Smith is entrenched as the starting safety for the Vikings next season. He's on pace to become one of the best to ever play the position for the franchise, should he stay healthy and remain in Minnesota for the majority of his career.
The other position, however, is open.
It's a teeter-totter with Jamarca Sanford on one side and Mistral Raymond the other.
Entering 2012 with Smith entering camp as a rookie first-round pick and expected to start at one spot eventually, Raymond was expected to be the other starter.
Raymond secured the starting spot to open the season, but suffered an ankle injury in Week 3 vs. San Francisco (Sept. 23). He didn't return until Week 10 (Nov. 11).
His injury allowed Sanford to step in and find his groove. When Raymond returned, Sanford was "rolling" and Raymond struggled to find the field for any meaningful time.
Now that both are healthy, expect an open competition for this position.
Raymond is the stronger cover guy while Sanford is stronger in run support.
It's a toss-up, but look for Leslie Frazier and company to go with the run support with strong cover corners Chris Cook and Xavier Rhodes starting on the outside.
Winner: Jamarca Sanford