Sunday, September 29, 2013
Raymond, Hodges make debuts
By Ben Goessling
LONDON -- Hello from Wembley Stadium, where we're about an hour from kickoff between the Vikings and Steelers. We already knew four of the Vikings' seven inactives on Friday, with Chris Cook, Jamarca Sanford, Rhett Ellison and Christian Ponder out, and the absences of Cook and Sanford helped put a pair of defensive players -- veteran safety Mistral Raymond and rookie linebacker Gerald Hodges -- on the active game-day roster for the first time this season.
Raymond was one of the Vikings' two starting safeties at the beginning of last season, but a persistent ankle injury opened up a chance for Sanford to take his starting spot, which he hasn't given back. Now that Sanford is out with a hamstring injury, Raymond will at least have a chance to re-assert himself, though the fact Andrew Sendejo will start in Sanford's place probably shows how far Raymond has fallen in the Vikings' eyes.
Hodges, the Vikings' fourth-round draft pick, hasn't found his way onto the field yet. I'd expect to see him mostly on special teams today, where he'd likely join former Penn State teammate Michael Mauti.
In addition to Sanford, Cook, Ellison and Ponder, defensive linemen Chase Baker and George Johnson and guard Jeff Baca are inactive for the Vikings.