Blanton working back to ‘promised land’

Safety Robert Blanton missed three weeks of practice, but he was back on Monday hoping to stay in contention for a starting job.

Robert Blanton was considered the “early favorite” to win the starting strong safety spot early in training camp, but a hamstring injury forced Blanton out of contention.

The third-year safety who has started only three games in two seasons returned to practice Monday and is ready to get back into contention.

“That’s my goal,” Blanton said in an interview filled with concise answers.

“I look at myself to come and work hard every day and help the team win and be successful.”

Blanton does much more talking on the field than with the media, and he’s hoping his play speaks well. He injured his hamstring in the fourth practice of training camp and hasn’t been able to get back into pads for a full practice until Monday.

He said it felt “amazing” and called getting back onto the practice field the “promised land.” He said his explosiveness is “feeling great” after almost three weeks either resting the hamstring or doing strictly rehabilitation work with the athletic trainers.

Since that first night practice, however, there has been plenty installed with head coach Mike Zimmer’s defense, but Blanton is hoping his “mental reps” over the last three weeks pay off as an observer during most of those practices.

“I’ve been out at every practice, every meeting, so I pick up the defense as you go along. I made sure I stayed on the mental aspect of the game,” he said.

“You’ve got to be 100 percent healthy.”

He said that is the case now and will “hopefully” be ready to play Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs in the third preseason game.

“I’m working hard every day to get an opportunity,” he said. “…It feels great. Happy to be out here. I get to run around and have some fun.”


  • WR Jerome Simpson was among the players that missed practice on Monday. According to the Pioneer Press, Simpson was meeting with NFL officials in New York, hoping to avoid a suspension.

    Simpson avoided jail time in early January when he pleaded guilty to careless driving and refusing to take a DWI test after being stopped in November 2013. In return, prosecutors dropped a misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired. He was ordered to do 120 hours of community service in public schools. He also was required to attend alcohol seminars and will be on probation for a year.

  • Also not practicing Monday were DE Brian Robison (personal matter), CB Josh Robinson (hamstring), CB Shaun Prater (head), CB Jabari Price (arm/shoulder), LB Brandon Watts (who had a sleeve on his left knee), TE Chase Ford (foot) and DT Linval Joseph (calf).

  • WR Jarius Wright came up limping after one play and walked off the field following practice with a taped-up left ankle.

  • Corey Wootton was taking the majority of the snaps for Robison, and with Robinson and Price out, Marcus Sherels was with the first-team defense in the nickel.

  • S Chris Crocker continued to work with the first-team defense after starting on Saturday night.

  • In preparation for their first road game of the preseason, the Vikings pumped in crowd noise with a mobile speaker, a practice they’ve used now for several years.

  • The Vikings waived LB Dom DeCicco with an injury designation and claimed LB Justin Jackson off waivers from the Detroit Lions.

    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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