SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Even as Robert Blanton got first-team work with the Minnesota Vikings' defense through much of the offseason, it never seemed as though he had a stronghold on the starting safety job next to Harrison Smith. Before the Vikings' first game against the San Francisco 49ers, Blanton officially lost it.
The Vikings listed Andrew Sendejo, who started in place of Blanton, as a starting safety for Monday night's game at Levi's Stadium. Sendejo had played ahead of Blanton in one situational drill this week, giving a hint they were thinking about a change. And when coach Mike Zimmer was asked this week which safety had been the most consistent, other than Smith, he replied, "Probably Sendejo. Or Blanton."
This will be the fourth consecutive game Sendejo has started, dating back to the end of last season, and while he likely doesn't have a long leash at the position, the move provides further evidence the Vikings weren't sold on Blanton.
In other news, linebacker Gerald Hodges will start at middle linebacker, after he played the final two games of the preseason with the first-team base defense. Rookie Eric Kendricks, who'd played with the top nickel package in the final two preseason games, could see time there again tonight.
Here is the Vikings' full list of inactives. With the team still holding an open roster spot following center John Sullivan's trip to short-term injured reserve, the Vikings only had to declare six inactives: