Since the start of the Vikings' offseason program, when Robert Blanton got a chance to stake his claim to a starting safety spot with Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo sitting out with injuries, the Vikings' crowded competition at the position has been significantly affected by who's healthy and who's not.

That was true again in the team's exhibition opener on Friday night, when Sendejo (who was just activated from the physically unable to perform list last week), Blanton (who's out with a hamstring injury) and Sanford (who's battling back spasms) sat out. Mistral Raymond left early in the game with a concussion, and 34-year-old Chris Crocker -- whom the Vikings just brought out of retirement this week -- wasn't ready for game action yet.

The absences created an opportunity for safety Kurt Coleman, who has received some first-team snaps during training camp but has been mired somewhere in the middle of the safety competition. The former Philadelphia Eagles safety got the start at strong safety alongside Harrison Smith on Friday, though, and intercepted a tipped pass in the second quarter.