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Sendejo Emerges In Smith's Absence

Posted Jan 14, 2014

Over the last two weeks we’ve taken a position-by-position look at the performance and production of the Vikings roster in 2013.

Photos: "Best Of" Defensive Backs >>

Injuries ravaged the Vikings defense in 2013. The silver lining is that those injuries to starters presented opportunities for others, and some of the others responded. The best illustration of this is the way Andrew Sendejo jumped up when Harrison Smith was lost for eight games during the middle of the season.

Vikings

Smith injured his foot during the Vikings Week 6 game against the Carolina Panthers and was placed on the Reserve/Injured (Designated for Return) list. While Smith came back to the lineup in Week 15, the Vikings had to make do for eight games without their stud safety. Sendejo answered the bell, finishing the season third on the team in tackles with 104 while also adding 13 special teams tackles, four pass breakups (PBUs) and an interception. Sendejo is one of the Vikings best special teams players because of his versatility and nose for the ball, and he used those traits to fill in so capably for Smith.

The starter opposite Smith was Jamarca Sanford, who finished fourth on the team with 79 tackles. He, too, missed games with an injury, making his tackle total plus the three PBUs and 2 forced fumbles (FF) in 13 games even more notable. Robert Blanton, whom we evaluated in this series as a cornerback, and Mistral Raymond also saw playing time while Sanford and Smith were down with injuries; Raymond collected 18 tackles and two PBUs in 12 games with two starts.

The Vikings defense finished last in passing touchdowns allowed (37), second to last in passing yards allowed (4,869) and third to last in passer rating allowed (98.6), so the praise of the Vikings safeties can only go so far. But it’s also fair to note that injuries (to the safety position as well as the cornerback position) didn’t help matters. The bottom line is the Vikings should have a healthy Smith back to start 2014 and Sanford, a fiery leader for the Vikings, will lead a group of otherwise young safeties – especially if the Vikings address that position in the draft again – for competition on the depth chart.

On the Roster
Brandon Bishop: Practice Squad
Mistral Raymond: 18 tackles, 4 special teams tackles, 2 PBUs in 12 games (2 starts)
Jamarca Sanford: 79 tackles, 3 special teams tackles, 3 PBUs, 2 FF in 13 games (13 starts)
Andrew Sendejo: 104 tackles, 13 special teams tackles, 1 INT, 4 PBUs in 16 games (10 starts)
Harrison Smith: 66 tackles, 5 special teams tackles, 2 INTs, 3 PBUs, 1 FF, 1 FR in 8 games (7 starts)

*Robert Blanton is listed as a safety but he was evaluated by us as a cornerback

Season In Review Articles
Quarterbacks >>
Wide Receivers >>
Cornerbacks >>
Linebackers >>