Vikings face some tough decisions at safety
It’s going to be some tough choices for Viking coaches as the preseason creeps up on official decision time. Technically, the Vikings have five legitimate starting safeties on their roster. Can they possibly keep all of them?
Darren Sharper is an 11-year veteran with 151 regular-season games of experience under his belt. He continues to be a ball-hawking big-play performer who has shown no signs of slipping.
Dwight Smith has started 63-of-93 games and has an adept understanding of the defensive scheme. He’s tough and physical on run support and also makes plays on the ball nicely.
Mike Doss has started 42-of-46 NFL games, is a physical player who has a knack for making plays, and has been on winning teams his entire life.
Tank Williams missed all of last season with the Vikings, but in four seasons with the Tennessee Titans, he had started all 57 games in which he had played.
Greg Blue played in all 16 games as a rookie and started 2 without any noticeable dropoff to the defense. He’s a lights-out hitter with great “in-the-box” safety potential.
Patrick Body has 6 games with the Bengals in 2005 and has all the physical tools to do the job.
The Vikings are simply loaded with experience and depth back here, but how many can they realistically keep heading into the regular season?
“I will tell you what; we are kind of engaged in that right now,” head coach Brad Childress said. “You go through lots and lots and lots of scenarios. A lot of times it ends up shaking itself out here in the last two games, but that safety position is a high impact position, as you know. They play by the line of scrimmage, they have to cover, and you can't have too many good safeties in my opinion because generally they are the heart and soul of a lot of your special teams as well. They run and hit in what they do. With our emphasis in the offseason on making sure that the backup people are on those special teams, that's why we would think abut five safeties.”
The Vikings placed OT Adam O’Connor on waivers/injured. O’Connor hurt his knee in training camp about a week ago and has been unable to practice since. He has gotten a couple opinions on the injury and likely will need to rehab before he would be ready to tryout again.
O’Connor was clearly running with the third team in practice before the injury and his chances of making it were remote.
The Vikings released WR Paris Hamilton. The former Gophers wideout was signed a couple weeks ago to provide reps for a receiving corps that was thinned out with some tight hamstrings from all the running in training camp.
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