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  1. #1
    COJOMAY is offline Jersey Retired
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    Vaunted Vikes defense in bottom 5

    I know that many in the Twin Cities may have read this report in today's Pioneer Press. But it is an excellent article on the Vikes defensive woes and what the future looks like:

    Vikings' defense disappoints

    Injuries hurt what was expected to be an improved unit

    BY SEAN JENSEN

    Pioneer Press


    Three games into the season, the Vikings' defense is in an all too familiar position: rated among the NFL's worst.

    After acquiring linebackers Sam Cowart and Napoleon Harris and spending $16.8 million in guaranteed bonuses to sign cornerback Fred Smoot, defensive tackle Pat Williams and free safety Darren Sharper, the Vikings rank 28th out of 32 teams.

    Rank, indeed.

    "We have the potential to be a top-five defense," Sharper said Thursday.

    Potential, top five. Reality, bottom five.

    Players and coaches insist there are reasons for the slow start. Foremost among them: The rebuilt defense has practiced and played together sparingly since training camp.

    The M*A*S*H list is vast.

    • Smoot missed much of training camp with neck and knee injuries.

    • Cowart sat out the second game with a calf strain.

    • Sharper (sprained left knee) did not play last Sunday and might not play this Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

    • Middle linebacker E.J. Henderson was out last Sunday because of a high ankle sprain.

    • Defensive end Lance Johnstone, defensive end Kenechi Udeze and third cornerback Brian Williams are all unlikely to play in Atlanta.

    "People are on short fuses around here because they're used to starting out so fast," Smoot said. "But we got new guys, and what we're running now, the guys didn't run last year. You have to grow into that identity."

    Throughout the preseason and regular season, a defensive coordinator mixes in more and more plays and schemes, cautious not to overwhelm his players. But with key players out of the lineup, the Vikings' Ted Cottrell has implemented more rudimentary game plans.

    "We've got some young guys, and we don't want to have their heads spinning," cornerback Antoine Winfield said. "So we're going to limit the playbook to what guys know."

    Even with the back-to-basics approach, mammoth mistakes have been made.

    In the season opener, Bucs rookie Carnell Williams broke off a 71-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. Bengals receiver Chad Johnson exploited a coverage breakdown for a 70-yard touchdown catch in the first minute of the second game.

    With players shuttling in and out, the Vikings defense lacks two critical "C's" — chemistry and continuity.

    "It definitely hurts a lot because when you get used to playing with certain guys, you know how they think, and sometimes, if they make a mistake, you can just fall into the play," Cowart said. "But when you have a lot of guys in and out of the lineup, that definitely hinders the cohesiveness.

    "That's where we're at right now. Even though we came off a decent performance against the Saints, we still had 21 mental errors as a defense."

    That's at least 15 more than acceptable, according to Cowart.

    Inexperience and the lack of continuity play a part in the errors.

    For example, Rod Davis played solidly in place of Cowart against the Bengals. But several veterans said Johnson's 70-yard score wouldn't have happened if the veteran Cowart had been in the lineup because players would have been properly aligned.

    The Vikings have played two games without defensive leaders, both Cowart and Sharper missing a game apiece.

    "Those are the quarterbacks of the defense," Smoot said. "They're two critical positions out there."

    Before the season, Sharper projected the defense would be "rolling" by Week 4 or 5. Now, he is estimating another three or four weeks.

    "When we get everybody out there, and everyone plays together for a while, I think that's when you'll see us hit our stride," Sharper said. "Hopefully, it'll happen before then."

    In the meantime, young players are gaining experience. Davis and Dontarrious Thomas got starts at linebacker, and Willie Offord was playing well until he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the fourth quarter Sunday.

    Cowart hopes the injuries will tail off.

    "We have a lot of confidence in our second-team guys," he said. "But you can only take so many injuries, and then you're going to start seeing a leakage."

    Since Week 1, the Vikings have not had their first-string defense together on the field, in practice or in a game. Cottrell is longing for that time to come.

    "Hopefully, we'll get though this spell of little boo-boos and injuries," Cottrell said. "Sooner or later, we'll hopefully have them all out there together.

    "I'm looking forward to it."
    Kentucky Vikes Fan

    When you require nothing, you get nothing; when you expect nothing, you will find nothing; when you embrace nothing, all you will have is nothing.

  2. #2
    Del Rio Guest

    Re: Vaunted Vikes defense in bottom 5

    The thing is Sharper has a history of being hurt, Cowart has been dinged up for the last few years.......

    In fact I remember right after we picked Sharper up I found a list of all his reported injuries on SI.com and I had to color code that bad boy it was so long,

    LOTS of knee injuries.


    This isn't surprising.

  3. #3
    6-KINGS Guest

    Re: Vaunted Vikes defense in bottom 5

    Yeah but if take out the D stats of the first 2 games, we are #1 BABY!!

    LOL!

  4. #4
    VKG4LFE's Avatar
    VKG4LFE is offline Jersey Retired Tetris Champion, Monkey GO Happy 4 Champion
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    Re: Vaunted Vikes defense in bottom 5

    We'll be alright, just let our D gel a little longer and then we'll see where we're at.

    I get the most pissed off looks from people with my VKG 4 LFE Wisconsin license plate, and I LOVE IT!!

  5. #5
    ShanePurpleBlood's Avatar
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    Re: Vaunted Vikes defense in bottom 5

    Like a pot roast, our D needs time cook together. We will turn it around.

    Another great sig by PPE!
    SKOL VIKINGS!!!
    Vikings #1
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  6. #6
    snowinapril's Avatar
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    Re: Vaunted Vikes defense in bottom 5

    Honestly, a team may never be 100% healthy, for a whole season. I hope they don't keep making excuses.

    We better not hear these comments in 3 weeks, injuries or not. It could become the D's scapegoat if they don't play well.

  7. #7
    C-PepNSalt is offline Pro-Bowler
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    Re: Vaunted Vikes defense in bottom 5

    Do they account for the 11 turnovers to say how bad the defense is...because if it does, we'd be closer to 15 w/o all those turnovers! Some of those games they were on the field 19, 20 minutes!
    "Johnson, we will keep on beating them until morale improves."

  8. #8
    mfenlon's Avatar
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    Re: Vaunted Vikes defense in bottom 5

    Is anyone really surprised in our bad D?
    It has been this way for 10 years...
    #1 in The North

  9. #9
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    Re: Vaunted Vikes defense in bottom 5

    "6-KINGS" wrote:
    Yeah but if take out the D stats of the first 2 games, we are #1 BABY!!

    LOL!
    Works for me!!! :grin:
    BANNED OR DEAD...I'LL TAKE EITHER ONE

  10. #10
    ItalianStallion's Avatar
    ItalianStallion is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Vaunted Vikes defense in bottom 5

    Guess what, it is week 3. This time last year I am pretty sure we had a top 5 defense, look how that turned out.

    People are stupid.


    I m like a Ja Rule poster, cause I'm off the wall.

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