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Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.



Free Agency Tracker '15: Vikings finally get into the signing game


We’re tracking all things Purple, starting with what’s already happened and projecting what needs to happen as the Vikings work their way through free agency and the rest of the offseason.

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Jamarca Sanford ready for live action vs. Cardinals

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated August 16th at 9:58am 271415871

Safety Jamarca Sanford has started 41 games over the last three seasons for the Vikings, but he’s in a four-way competition for his starting strong safety spot having to prove his ability.

It’s just another training camp for the seventh round pick in 2009.

“A lot of people told me I wouldn’t last a year in this league,” Sanford said. “Now I’m going into Year 6. It’s nothing different, just another hump in the road I’ve got to get over.”

Sanford will get his first live action on Saturday against the Cardinals after missing the preseason opener against the Raiders with back spasms. He’s had to play catch up throughout the offseason as Sanford also did not participate in OTAs and minicamp.

“It was a setback but that’s part of the game,” Sanford said. “Injuries, it’s a physical game. You always have tweaks. It didn’t help the situation at all, kind of took a step back not being out there and getting the mental reps.”

With injuries to Sanford, Andrew Sendejo and Robert Blanton, the Vikings signed Chris Crocker to compete at strong safety. Crocker has received the majority of the first team reps this week given his familiarity with head coach Mike Zimmer’s defense.

There’s a good chance the newly-acquired safety will start against Arizona. Sanford will get his shot during the game however as Zimmer said he plans to divide the playing time among the four safeties.

The new addition will make his battle to retain that starting spot even more challenging, though Sanford won’t treat Saturday’s game differently.

Sanford has been in similar situations throughout his career, battling to secure a starting spot with the Vikings.

“I’ve been fighting all my life,” Sanford said. “I’m not the prototype safety – 6-2, 220 (pounds). I’m 5-10 — stretching at 5-10 — 200-to-205 pounds. Size goes against me but it’s not about the size. It’s not the size of the dog, it’s the fight in the dog. I know I put a lot of effort this offseason to work my rear end off to come back and help this team.”

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Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 9 FINAL
Seattle 8
Colorado 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 18
Cleveland 3 FINAL
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 FINAL
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 10 FINAL
Arizona 5
Atlanta 100 FINAL
Charlotte 115
New York 80 FINAL
Chicago 111
Golden State 108 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Oklahoma City 89 FINAL
Utah 94
Denver 114 FINAL
Portland 120
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 1 FINAL
Carolina 3
Florida 2 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 3
Ottawa 3 FINAL(OT)
Toronto 4
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 4 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Buffalo 3 FINAL
Colorado 5
Dallas 4 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
Arizona 78 FINAL
Wisconsin 85
Canisius 73 FINAL
NJIT 78
Notre Dame 66 FINAL
Kentucky 68
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
D.C. 1
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
New York City 0
Red Bull New York 2 FINAL
Columbus 1
Portland 1 FINAL
Vancouver FC 2
Colorado 0 FINAL
Houston 0
Seattle 0 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 82 FINAL
(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 69 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 73

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