Former University of Notre Dame cornerback Robert Blanton was selected with the 139th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Blanton was taken with the fourth selection of the fifth round.
Blanton was the second defensive back from Notre Dame drafted by the Vikings in this year’s draft. Harrison Smith was picked by Minnesota in the first round. Blanton and Smith give the Vikings five former Irish players, in addition to John Carlson, Kyle Rudolph and John Sullivan.
Blanton did not play in the first game of his Notre Dame career but appeared in the next 50 contests, starting 26 games for the Irish. He totaled 193 career tackles with 19 tackles for loss and addedeight interceptions and 16 pass breakups.
A starter in all 13 games as a senior in 2011, Blanton registered career highs of 70 tackles and eight tackles for loss and added one sack, two interceptions, six pass breakups and one fumble recovery. He was named recipient of the inaugural Notre Dame Back of the Year, recognizing Blanton as the top Irish defensive back in 2011.
Despite only starting one of 13 games in 2010, Blanton ranked third on the team with seven tackles for loss and added 52 tackles, one sack and two interceptions. A solid special-teams performer, Blanton blocked a punt against 15th-ranked Utah and returned it for a touchdown, sparking the Irish to a 28-3 victory over the Utes.
Blanton started 12 of 24 games in his first two seasons, totaling 71 tackles, four interceptions, five pass breakups and four tackles for loss as a freshman and sophomore in 2008 and 2009.