Mistral Raymond will be heading into a very pivotal season for his career in 2013. The strong safety will enter training camp with an uphill a battle in front of him, because the Minnesota Vikings already have two safeties penciled into the starting spots, in the form of Harrison Smith and Jamarca Sanford.
Raymond was the Vikings’ starting strong safety in 2012, until a leg injury ultimately derailed his season. He was able to return before the end of the year, but by then, Sanford had firmly established himself in the Minnesota secondary.
I don’t like Raymond’s chances of regaining his starting role with the team this year, simply because Sanford seems to be more physical, something the Vikings really like. Raymond is not the hard-hitter that Sanford is, but he certainly holds his own when it comes to coverage.
Raymond should see plenty of field time this season, but it will just be in a reserve role. He’s more than capable of being a starter, he’s just not the Vikings’ best option at the position. But all of that doesn’t mean he’s not valuable to the team. A team can never have enough depth in its secondary.
So overall, from a player perspective, Raymond’s 2013 season doesn’t look all that bright. If he’s convinced that he’s a starter in the NFL, then he probably won’t be happy this season. But if he accepts his role as a reserve and plays it to the best of his ability, the Vikings’ safety position is going to be very strong.
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