Rookie SS Jamarca Sanford has opened eyes this season for his strong play and hard hitting on special teams. Thought to be too small to earn a roster spot, the seventh-rounder consistently improved to the point where he earned some more playing time on defense as the season wore on. In Week 17, Sanford split reps with starting SS Tyrell Johnson and made a big hit on a two-yard loss on 3rd-and-1 on his first series with the first-team defense. After the game, head coach Brad Childress said he was getting Sanford's "feet wet" on defense and had no plans for a change at the position. But don't assume that Sanford won't be a part of a few more defensive packages from here on because Johnson has had issues with finishing tackles this season. The Vikings also dialed back the snaps in that game for CB Antoine Winfield, who has had a tough go since returning to the lineup after a foot injury. But there is no way, we hear, the Vikings won't use Winfield in his regular LCB spot in the first playoff game, unless he suffers another setback.
PFW has launched its brand-new NFL Draft Newsletter series, with the second issue now ready for mailing. Produced by PFW's player personnel department under the direction of Nolan Nawrocki, the series consists of four information-packed issues. For more info or to subscribe — click here for PDF e-pub or here for print format.