The Minnesota Vikings have yet to name Mistral Raymond the starter at safety alongside rookie first-round pick Harrison Smith, but it's not for lack of production on Raymond's part. The team simply wants to see if Raymond is healthy before they give him the nod over Jamarca Sanford.
Jeremy Fowler of The Pioneer Press had a quote from Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier on the matter, in which he talks about the situation:
"We want to see Mistral go through some things, with all the time that he missed toward the end," said Frazier on Wednesday, Sept. 5. "I just talked with Jamarca a few minutes ago just about that, just telling him to be patient, let us take a look at some things the next couple of days and we'll make a decision as the week goes on. But we have confidence in the both of them, and we'll make the right decision."
In other words, Raymond needs to show that his back spasms in Week 3 of the preseason didn't set him back on his progression. If he shows he's still the same player in practice and he doesn't regress on the injury front, he should get the nod ahead of Sanford.
But if Sanford is named the starter, he'll be ready. Sanford is coming into his fourth year in the NFL, and started 15 games a season ago. He's a core special teams player and while he doesn't inspire a lot of confidence, he's been a solid performer at the safety position in the past. Raymond out-played him in the preseason to essentially earn the starting nod, but this could be Sanford's chance to make things interesting again.