The Minnesota Vikings made the considerate of outfield moves that would allow them to attack weaknesses that gave them a losing track record and one of the worst defenses in the NFL.
Nothing gets under the skin of coach Mike Zimmer more than having a defense that’s being pushed around physically. Zimmer was one of the best defensive minds in the league prior the Vikings hired him in 2014, and his skills as a playing planner combined with the general toughness he instilled were keys to his coaching.
Zimmer was very candid in his assessment of defense final year, calling it the worst he’s experienced in his career. Games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints were the team’s worst performance during final year’s 7-9 season.
The Vikings dropped a 26-14 decision in Tampa Road in December as the defense ceded 17 points in the second quarter to allow the Super Bowl champions to take charge of the game. The attack had no response following that, and exceptional teams like Dan Bailey did a brutal performance with three failed FG attempts and one failed extra point.
This performance was a symphony compared to the way the Vikings played against the Saints in a 52-33 loss in Week 16 in New Orleans. Saints running back Alvin Kamara tied an NFL record with six sprint distances and the Saints piled on an embarrassing 264 yards to the ground. Zimmer swallowed firm following that game when evaluating this defense. “Yes, that’s a bad defense,” Zimmer said. “The worst thing I’ve ever been through.”
The mission of the Vikings abroad was a mixture of practicality and pride. They had to get better in defense if they had any chance of putting an opposing team on the field. Zimmer simply has a lot of pride to lead a team that has passed two successive seasons.
The Vikings added their forces, Dalvin Tomlinson and Michael Pierce, in place of a defensive intervention to forbid this from happening again. They are both big and sure people who have the toughness to shut down their inner run.
The return of the defensive end Daniel Hunter should allow the Vikings to attack the defense. Hunter is one of the league’s distinguished passing leaders as he had 29.0 sacks in 2018 and 2019 (14.5 sacks per season) prior missing the entire final season following disc surgery. His beforetime form in training camp was excellent, showing off the considerate of bragging and moves that Vikings fans and coaches are used to seeing.
In addition to these three, signing veteran Patrick Peterson at packed-back could be a crucial upgrade. Peterson has gone to the Pro Bowl eight times in his career, and his style has allowed him to develop into a cover man who has seen everything a crime can throw at him throughout his career.
Although the previous Arizona Cardinal has won respect and accolades throughout his career, he is not the type to disregard the advice of his coaches. Zimmer was heavily involved in the linebacker’s defense in the beforetime part of training camp, and Peterson was grateful for what his coach provided.
“He’s given me a bunch of advice since I’ve been here about how it feels like I can be on top of the road a little better…just stuff like that,” Peterson said. “The most significant thing I love about his scheme in general is that I can now play more confront-to-man versus back-to-man, and that will donate me a better chance of breaking balls and creating interceptions.”
The Vikings hope that Hunter’s return and a stronger defensive line will put more pressure on opposing midfielders than the team has been competent to accomplish in either of the former two seasons. If true, this would provide opportunities for Peterson and his secondary teammates to come up with objections.
Peterson has 28 career interceptions, and the Vikings are counting on him to team up with Harrison Smith’s safety to set the tone on the field this season.
A defense that has been among the most vulnerable in the league for the former two seasons, could suddenly turn into a very perilous unit.