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  1. #1
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    Vikes hope their defense will not choke away a division titl

    Mike Tice to Defense: Don't Blow It Vikings ask defense for a little help
    Kevin Seifert, Star Tribune
    December 23, 2004

    And so it has come to this. Two days from their biggest game in four years, the Vikings have turned their cards skyward and shoved their chips to the middle of the table. They have dropped all pretense of their previous goals and made only one request of their defense: Don't blow it ... please.

    As they prepare for Friday's NFC North title game against Green Bay, the Vikings no longer carry even the middling defensive goals they set in training camp. In those tranquil days, the Vikings hoped to finish the season in the middle of the NFL's defensive rankings.

    Now, as they sit on an all-too-familiar No. 29 ranking -- while still catching their breath after coughing up 178 fourth-quarter yards Sunday to Detroit -- the Vikings hope their defense will not choke away a division title. With his offense apparently back to full strength, coach Mike Tice has used a tennis analogy to set the most modest goal possible for a winning defense.

    "My expectation is that we learn how to hold serve," said Tice, noting that the Lions scored touchdowns on their next possession after the Vikings took leads of 14-3, 21-13 and 28-21.

    "In one of those drives," Tice said, "we have to hold them to a field goal. I don't even mean get a three-and-out. ... Either hold them to a field goal, or get off the field and not allow them to go 80 yards down the field right after you score. That is the expectation I have. And if we can do that, we'll be good enough on defense. Because we'll be good enough on offense."

    The team's overall defensive ranking is based on giving up an average of 400.2 yards per game. The Vikings also are allowing 23.4 first downs per game, good for 30th in the NFL, and their opponents are averaging 24.3 points per game -- the ninth-worst mark in the league.

    While disappointing, Tice said those rankings no longer are accurate barometers of his defensive expectations. No, the concern of the defensive coaches this week was simply finding a way to stop the Packers short of the end zone.

    There are two ways to meet that ambition: By forcing either a turnover or a punt. Through 14 games, the Vikings have forced the fewest number of combined turnovers and punts in the NFL -- 71. While each team's total number of defensive possessions vary, the Vikings still wallow far below the NFL average of 91 combined takeaways/forced punts.

    "What do we need to do? Create turnovers and get off the field on third down," said cornerback Antoine Winfield, whose return from a sprained left ankle will aid that purpose. "When we do that, we win games. We haven't been able to do it as well as we wanted to do this year. If we do that, and we get our offense the ball, we know they'll put up enough points to win the game."

    To that end, the Vikings frequently have tweaked their lineup and have gone through almost weekly changes in their nickel and dime situations.

    As part of those modifications, coaches have sent as many as six new players into the game at a time, sometimes creating a wild fire-drill atmosphere for crucial third-down plays. The changes at times have led to players sprinting into position at the snap of the ball -- or worse, not being set or lined up -- but Tice insisted those problems have been worked through.

    Regardless, the Vikings will simplify their approach this week to ensure their best and most reliable players remain on the field. They figure to use their most experienced linebackers -- Chris Claiborne, E.J. Henderson and Keith Newman -- in most passing situations, while limiting the role of rookie Dontarrious Thomas.

    Winfield's return also will upgrade the Vikings' nickel package, while Rushen Jones likely will replace Derek Ross in the dime.

    "We're just trying to have a more consistent performance," defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell said, "and stop getting these spells that we've been getting. We've made some personnel changes that we think are going to help. And we'll get better."

    Cottrell laughed.

    "Well, we should be better," he said added.

    These days, better is good enough.
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  2. #2
    deviking is offline Rookie
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    Vikes hope their defense will not choke away a division titl

    Our coaches have some of the best talent in the league and still squander losses.

    Love that big signing of a Name def Coordinator in the Off season. TC sucks.

    Period.

    Tice would make a good assistant but makes way too many mistakes.

    I have to think that Parcells sits at home and laughs at the way that Tice coaches sometimes.
    [img:2c772403b6]http://www.danasoft.com/sig/DUEviking.jpg[/img:2c772403b6]

  3. #3
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    GreenBaySlackers is offline Star Spokesman
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    Vikes hope their defense will not choke away a division titl

    "deviking" wrote:
    Our coaches have some of the best talent in the league and still squander losses.

    Love that big signing of a Name def Coordinator in the Off season. TC sucks.

    Period.

    Tice would make a good assistant but makes way too many mistakes.

    I have to think that Parcells sits at home and laughs at the way that Tice coaches sometimes.
    I think parcells goes home and crys at how bad his team is!

  4. #4
    deviking is offline Rookie
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    Vikes hope their defense will not choke away a division titl

    Yes. I think that too. But my point was that the mistakes mad by Tice would never be made by Phil or for that part Bill B. in Ne. Coaches shouldnt lose the games for there teams by not doing there jobs. I dont think you could ever blame parcells for a lose on a mistake that has been made can we say the same for Mikey?
    [img:2c772403b6]http://www.danasoft.com/sig/DUEviking.jpg[/img:2c772403b6]

  5. #5
    purplehorn is offline Hall of Famer
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    Vikes hope their defense will not choke away a division titl

    "deviking" wrote:
    .

    I have to think that Parcells sits at home and laughs at the way that Tice coaches sometimes.
    [size=7px][/size]

    Wow I must have missed Bill getting a better record than Tice :scratch:

    And didn't Tice outcoach him this year :shock:
    Green Bay police station toilet stolen.

    Cops say they have nothing to go on.

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