Blanton boasts versatility and confidence

New Vikings defensive back R.J. Blanton isn't sure if he'll play cornerback or safety, but he is sure he has the skills to play the game and will "be more than happy to go out there and dominate."

When the Vikings moved back up into the first round of the draft on Thursday, general manager Rick Spielman joked that the Vikings had met their limit on players from Notre Dame on the roster.

Two days later, they added another – selecting defensive back Robert Blanton in the fifth round.

Blanton spent most of his career at cornerback with the Fighting Irish, but most scouts project him as a free safety at the NFL level. He said he believes he can play either position, depending on where the Vikings believe he is the ideal fit.

"I believe I can do both jobs," Blanton said. "Wherever they need me, I'll be more than happy to go out there and dominate."

Initially, his role will likely be on special teams, but Blanton believes he brings a lot of positives to the table that the Vikings can use to their benefit.

"My versatility, being a lockdown corner and being able to help in run support as well," Blanton said when discussing his strengths. "I love to play football and I love to hit and I love to make big plays, catch kicks and score. DB is the best spot for that."

He admitted that he is being viewed by a lot of teams as more of a safety prospect than a cornerback because he doesn't have ideal speed (he ran a 4.66 40 at the Combine). But he is convinced he can make an impact and doesn't believe that there is much difference in the skill set needed to play one position or the other.

"A lot of teams were looking at me to play safety," Blanton said. "I was happy they have the belief that I can play somewhere. I'm comfortable out on the field and being a player – at the end of the day, there's no big difference between corner and safety. You still have to cover a guy and you still have to tackle when it comes time to tackle. You have to know how to make plays on the ball in the air and you've got to be great to play either one."

Blanton said he brings the work ethic of Notre Dame with him to the Vikings, along with Smith, adding that teams get their money's worth from the Fighting Irish.

"They get a passionate guy and a hard-working guy," Blanton said. "To be at N.D., you have to be a hard worker, a guy who isn't willing to give up or quit and a beast."

Blanton was asked how much he knows about the Vikings and said to check back with him in a few weeks.

"Not much as of right now, but I'll know a lot real soon," he said."


John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.



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He said he believes he can play either position, depending on where the Vikings believe he is the ideal fit. \"I believe I can do both jobs,\" Blanton said. \"Wherever they need me, I'll be more than happy to go out there and dominate.\" Initially, his role will likely be on special teams, but Blanton believes he brings a lot of positives to the table that the Vikings can use to their benefit. \"My versatility, being a lockdown corner and being able to help in run support as well,\" Blanton said when discussing his strengths. \"I love to play football and I love to hit and I love to make big plays, catch kicks and score. DB is the best spot for that.\" He admitted that he is being viewed by a lot of teams as more of a safety prospect than a cornerback because he doesn't have ideal speed (he ran a 4.66 40 at the Combine). 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