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Notre Dame Duo Looking To Make Immediate Impact In Minnesota

A pair of rookies from Notre Dame could be starting in the secondary for the Minnesota Vikings this season

Apr 27, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman poses with first round draft pick Harrison Smith (right) from Notre Dame at Vikings headquarters. Mandatory Credit:  Greg Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Apr 27, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman poses with first round draft pick Harrison Smith (right) from Notre Dame at Vikings headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Greg Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Heading into the NFL Draft, there was little question that the Minnesota Vikings would look to revamp their secondary. However, few would have guessed that the Vikings would come out of the draft with a pair of rookie starters from the same school. According to Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune, two guys drafted out of Notre Dame could make a big impact next season:

During the team session Friday morning, Harrison Smith and Robert Blanton each were on the first-unit at safety. That’s hardly a surprise at rookie mini-camp given the Vikings used the 29th overall pick on Smith and pick No. 139 on Blanton. But it also won’t be entirely shocking if the Notre Dame teammates are the starting safeties Sept. 9 when the 2012 season opens. Smith has an inside track on a starting spot. And Blanton could fight his way into the mix, likely needing to show he can outplay Jamarca Sanford and Mistral Raymond, the duo that started together for the final five games of 2011.
"If you take a look at where we ended the season at the safety position, it’s open competition," head coach Leslie Frazier said. "Those guys returning are good players. But we want to really have an open competition."

Smith was highly-coveted by the Vikings, as they traded their way back into the first round to select him. Blanton is a great athlete and has a high football IQ, so it won't be a surprise if he can make the mental adjustment that is necessary to compete in the NFL.

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