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Former Vikings player thwarts attempted carjacking outside Minnesota preschool

Former Vikings player Robert Blanton thwarted an attempted carjacking outside Kiddie Academy, the Minnesota preschool he runs with his wife. He spoke to KARE 11 in a virtual interview.
Former Vikings player Robert Blanton thwarted an attempted carjacking outside Kiddie Academy, the Minnesota preschool he runs with his wife. He spoke to KARE 11 in a virtual interview. Screengrab from KARE11 video

A former NFL player helped thwart an attempted carjacking outside a Minnesota preschool.

Robert Blanton, a former Minnesota Vikings defensive back, says he was inside the Kiddie Academy — a preschool in Edina he owns with his wife — when he witnessed what was happening just outside and jumped into action, multiple news outlets report.

The incident happened around 4 p.m. Jan. 12, the Edina Police Department said in a news release posted to Twitter.

According to the release, the victim was exiting her vehicle when a man demanded her keys. She gave them to him, then grabbed her purse and ran toward the doors of a business. A second man ran after her, demanding her purse.

Police said a “business owner” intervened but did not name that person in the news release. Police also did not name the business.

Police later recovered the vehicle in St. Louis Park, the release said.

Blanton said he was with his daughter inside the preschool when he realized what was happening, CBS Minnesota reported.

“I just bolted out the door,” he told the outlet.

He added he saw the woman “slung to the ground multiple times,” compelling him to take off immediately and intervene, KARE11 reported.

When he got outside, the man tried to jump into a car where the other man was waiting, CBS Minnesota reported. He tried to pull the first man out and “slam the door on his leg,” he told the outlet.

Surveillance video shows Blanton screaming at the men to exit the vehicle, CBS Minnesota reported.

Blanton said the two men attempted to run him over before driving away, KARE11 reported.

No one was injured in the incident, according to police.

It didn’t occur to Blanton to fear for his own life at the time, KARE11 reported.

“After I started thinking about it, I was like ‘man, this could’ve went much differently,’” he told the outlet.

The vehicle the two carjackers had arrived in, a 2010 Chevrolet Traverse, was stolen earlier in the day, police said in the release.

“Attacking a parent who’s at a preschool to get her kid is one of the more sick things you can do,” Blanton told KARE11.

Blanton played for the Vikings from 2012 to 2015. He and his wife launched the Kiddie Academy location in 2018, according to Edina Magazine.

Blanton went to high school in Matthews, North Carolina, before attending the University of Notre Dame, where he was drafted to the Vikings.

In 2007, as a high school senior, he tallied 94 tackles, five interceptions and six blocked kicks. That year, he was also named Defensive Player of the Year by The Charlotte Observer, according to the University of Notre Dame’s 2008 signing day news release.

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Vandana Ravikumar is a McClatchy Real-Time reporter. She grew up in northern Nevada and studied journalism and political science at Arizona State University. Previously, she reported for USA Today, The Dallas Morning News, and Arizona PBS.
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