The USF/Palmetto product seemed to have the job locked up, but unexpectedly experienced back problems that forced him to miss the Vikings last two pre-season games.
|Mistral Raymond breaks up pass against Packers |
Raymond had been battling Jamarca Stanford for the position. Stanford started 15 games of last year, but Raymond reportedly out-performed him during the off season. The other safety position figures to go to rookie first round draft choice Harrison Smith from Notre Dame.
“I didn’t know what was going on. It’s a weird deal. It just came out of nowhere. It came and then went back to normal like I never experienced before,” Raymond said about his injury.
It’s been reported that the Vikings coaching staff wants Raymond in the starting lineup this Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. But back injuries (mostly spasms in his case) have a way of lingering and resurfacing without notice and the staff is being very careful.
Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier has taken a diplomatic view of the situation saying there is a chance Raymond will start but not clarifying things beyond that.
Raymond returned to practice this week but says he hasn’t been told anything about who the starter will be Sunday. He stressed it won’t change his work habits.
“We want to see Mistral go through some things, with all the time that he missed toward the end,” Frazier told the media on Wednesday. “Let us take a look at some things the next couple of days and we’ll make a decision as the week goes on. But we have confidence in the both of them, and we’ll make the right decision.”