Andrew Sendejo

The Minnesota Vikings and Mike Zimmer like to leave their decision on Strong Safety for next season to the very last minute. In this preseason, Andrew Sendejo and Michael Griffin are battling for the starting spot.

Sendejo is the incumbent, starting for the Vikings 13 times last season, finishing with an interception and 73 tackles. Griffin is a new arrival in Minneapolis, following nine seasons with the Tennessee Titans (two Pro Bowl selections) and playing free safety most of the time. He’s been a starter for his entire career (133 starts in 141 games), and last season had one interception and 99 tackles.

Sendejo started in the first preseason game, Griffin was the starter in game 2 vs Seattle. The Vikings plan on letting the two of them battle it out until they make a decision about the starter just before the actual season begins.

In 2014, Robert Blanton was the starting strong safety, but now he’s with the Buffalo Bills. Harrison Smith was the free safety, a position he’ll start in again this season, making the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career last year. He’s emerging as one of the best in that position in the NFL.

The Vikings were just outside the top 10 in most pass-defense categories last season, but they did allow less touchdowns than in 2014 and the opponent passer rating declined a little bit. Zimmer is hoping the team takes it to another level in 2015, becoming a lot more consistent and predatory when it comes to forcing QB mistakes.

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