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  1. #1
    cheesefree is offline Starter
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    Vikings Defense # 31...again

    Vikings: Defense bottom feeders again
    Kevin Seifert, Star Tribune
    October 12, 2004

    And so, the time loop continues its painful course. It begins with summertime promises of better players, smarter schemes and more experienced coaching. It reaches a peak with a few instances of early success, then blows up with an unthinkable collapse of near-historic proportions.

    Is this 1999 or 2001 or 2003 or any of the years in between? Or will the Vikings finally escape a five-year pattern of defensive inferiority? Coaches and players gathered Monday at Winter Park, determined to achieve the latter scenario in the wake of their closer-than-necessary 34-28 victory Sunday at Houston.

    The Texans rolled up 305 yards and four touchdowns after halftime, allowing them to force overtime in a game the Vikings led 21-0 midway through the third quarter.

    "If we had lost that game," said cornerback Antoine Winfield, "it would have gotten real ugly around here."
    Win or lose, the Vikings' defense ranks 31st overall in the 32-team NFL at the quarter-mark of the season. The Vikings are giving up an average of 293.8 yards passing per game, the worst mark in the league, and have forced only four turnovers.

    Injuries have forced them to revamp their nickel and dime packages as well as their entire corps of base linebackers, and it should be noted their mostly stout run defense ranks seventh in the league.

    "Let's not forget that we're still 3-1," defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell said. "That's the big picture. We'll get better. ... I know the injuries have taken a toll, but I don't want to use that as an excuse. If a guy is in there, he's got to play well."

    Coaches are not considering many personnel changes, in part because the injury-induced revolving door already has caused chemistry problems. Coach Mike Tice refused to blame injuries to linebackers E.J. Henderson and Chris Claiborne, as well as nickel back Ken Irvin, for this season's difficulties; instead, Tice said, "We have to learn ... to have a little bit more of a killer instinct."

    Tice has instructed assistant coaches to focus on relaying defensive signals earlier than they have been, giving their newcomers more time to set themselves and read the offensive formations. "That will help out the players significantly, I believe," Tice said. The Vikings also will reposition their defensive backs to play closer to opposing receivers, some of whom enjoyed 10-yard cushions Sunday.

    "In order for us to take our game to the next level," Winfield said, "we can't allow that to happen. ... We have to play tighter coverage. We have to make more plays on the ball when it's in the air."

    Such issues were unexpected this summer -- considering Cottrell's well-documented résumé, the addition of Winfield and newfound speed among their linebackers. Instead, the Vikings have yet to get their 11 presumptive starters on the field at the same time for even one play this season.

    "We thought we'd have a defense that would get us in the middle of the pack of the NFL," owner Red McCombs said. "If we can start getting some of our guys back on the field, I still think we can play some really good football by the seventh or eighth week of the season. I'm concerned about it, but I don't want to say I'm losing any sleep about it.

    "We've made some moves during the past few years to strengthen our defense and get us up in the middle of the pack," McCombs added. "Obviously, we're not there yet. We're going to have to pick it up a lot to get there, and that's a big challenge for our entire team."

    Tice canceled the Vikings' usual "Victory Monday" day off, and players reported to Winter Park for several hours of film study. As they left the building, most defensive players focused on individual mistakes rather than schematic concerns.

    "Coaches are calling a great game for us," defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. "We just have to execute what they're calling and eliminate some of the mistakes we're making out there. We're beating ourselves on a lot of things. That's what is just killing us."

    Rookie linebacker Dontarrious Thomas, for example, played his position perfectly on a third-down play late in the fourth quarter, backpedaling into a zone to help force an incomplete pass. On the next play, Thomas was late to his spot and was unable to prevent Derick Armstrong's 11-yard touchdown reception.

    "We're living and dying with some inexperience," Cottrell said, "but I know we're going to get it corrected."

    Ironically, it was the Texans' 21-point deficit that forced them into a pass-only mode in the first place. The Vikings responded by utilizing their nickel and dime packages, and there is little doubt future opponents will force them into such formations until they prove they can play it better.
    "To keep up with our offense," Winfield said, "I think teams are going to continue to do that: Put it out there, try to get us in the dime, and throw the ball downfield. They'll take some shots. What do they have to lose?"

    Nothing -- at least until the pattern is broken.
    [b:6191debc1d]it ain t easy being cheesy[/b:6191debc1d]
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  2. #2
    ndakvikefan's Avatar
    ndakvikefan is offline Starter
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    Vikings Defense # 31...again

    You might as well get used to it. But there is a silver lining. The Vikes only 31st is pass defense though, they are 7th in rushing D 90yds/game.
    I say get used to it because if they continue to get ahead by 2 or 3 TD's the opponents are going to do nothing but throw the ball. For example Dallas and Houston. Combine that with the lack of blitzes because of injuries and the soft coverage teams are going to put up big passing numbers when they throw the ball 40-50 times trying to catch up.
    8f72d7a2bfbfd6a931c3ea8edbece812

  3. #3
    whackthepack is offline Jersey Retired
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    Vikings Defense # 31...again

    If they would stop going to the prevent D when they are up on a team, and stop giving 12 yard cushions to receivers.

    If they would play to win and not play to lose, then we would not be 31st against the pass.

    Have some balls, go out there and play an agressive D. You have a top flight offense, if you give up some big plays have faith in the O to get the points back.
    What we've got here is failure to communicate.

  4. #4
    sdvikefan is offline Hall of Famer
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    Vikings Defense # 31...again

    Personally I'm sick of it. I wasn't around for the Purple People Eaters but I was for Chris Doleman, Joey Browner, Keith Millard, Carl Lee, Ed McDaniel and the defense of the 80s and early 90s. You know the defense that seemed to pick the ball off at least once a game, and that would sometimes outscore the offense? It's embarassing to see the Vikings without that killer D that teams fear, and reading how great opposing QBs are expected to do against us. It's been a slow downward spiral all through the years when Denny Green was without Dungy. Now Tice has been doing what he can to rebuild it.

    But I pretty much agree with the article. Right now it seems to be more of an experience/mental problem among the players. I think Cottrell knows what he has to work with and overall is doing a pretty good job with his schemes except for one thing. The cushion given to WRs is not acceptable at all. Absolutely no need for it with the safeties we have. Hell even without them...Winfield doesn't need safety help to stay with a receiver as he has shown several times already. That has to stop. But we dont need to go crazy with more aggressive schemes, you can't afford to do that especially with so many teams running some form of the damn West Coast Offense. Our players need to individually be more aggressive.
    "Meet at the quarterback!" -Purple People Eaters

  5. #5
    Del Rio Guest

    Vikings Defense # 31...again

    I completely agree. Our safties are some of the best and they were in the top of the interception list last year because the corners were allowed to play close D. And the Safties can roam and use their skill in breaking on the ball. I just keep waiting and waiting and he keeps playing the weak D when we should be attacking and making things happen. Hell our O scores and people score on us we will lose nothing if we start taking risks. All it will take is 1 good Defense dominated game to get us some confidence. I don't think Cotrell is putting them in position to be great.

  6. #6
    whackthepack is offline Jersey Retired
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    Vikings Defense # 31...again

    "Del Rio" wrote:
    I completely agree. Our safties are some of the best and they were in the top of the interception list last year because the corners were allowed to play close D. And the Safties can roam and use their skill in breaking on the ball. I just keep waiting and waiting and he keeps playing the weak D when we should be attacking and making things happen. Hell our O scores and people score on us we will lose nothing if we start taking risks. All it will take is 1 good Defense dominated game to get us some confidence. I don't think Cotrell is putting them in position to be great.

    You are right on the money DR!!! :salute:
    What we've got here is failure to communicate.

  7. #7
    Del Rio Guest

    Vikings Defense # 31...again

    Week Opp Pass Def
    6 @ Saints Saints Pass Def: 232.2 ypg (21st)
    7 Titans Titans Pass Def: 231.8 ypg (20th)
    8 Giants Giants Pass Def: 204.0 ypg (13rd)
    9 @ Colts Colts Pass Def: 293.6 ypg (31st)

    Not that this fits the thread, but our next 4 games there is some Daunte potential.

    Unfortunately with our D there is some Brooks, Mcnair, Warner, Manning potential as well.

  8. #8
    snowinapril's Avatar
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    Vikings Defense # 31...again

    The main reason we are 7th against the D is it is so easy to pass on us. Also, except for the eagles game we have been ahead in the game and have had the ball control time of poss.

    I like the fact that Tice made them come in on their day off. I expect that they will improve. It sounds like we are still in growing pains.

    DENNY GREEN, thanks for our great offense it is greatly appreciated. He built the mean machine with his Moss and Pep draftings. Awesome Awesome Awesome. BUT, he spent a lot of time drafting only offense. Neglecting the defense was a bad idea. Once we had Moss and Culpepper, we should have been drafting D every since. I think this was the first year we got serious about the D in the draft. I am glad that we have 5 deep at RB but we really needed help on D.....DDDDDDDDDDDDDD.

  9. #9
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    RK.
    RK. is offline Ring of Fame Rally Cross II Champion
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    Vikings Defense # 31...again

    "We thought we'd have a defense that would get us in the middle of the pack of the NFL," owner Red McCombs said. "If we can start getting some of our guys back on the field, I still think we can play some really good football by the seventh or eighth week of the season. I'm concerned about it, but I don't want to say I'm losing any sleep about it.
    My suggestion is that Red start losing some sleep over it and start shooting for the top of the pack instead of the middle. :angryfire:

    WWBGD

  10. #10
    whackthepack is offline Jersey Retired
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    Vikings Defense # 31...again

    "RK" wrote:
    "We thought we'd have a defense that would get us in the middle of the pack of the NFL," owner Red McCombs said. "If we can start getting some of our guys back on the field, I still think we can play some really good football by the seventh or eighth week of the season. I'm concerned about it, but I don't want to say I'm losing any sleep about it.
    My suggestion is that Red start losing some sleep over it and start shooting for the top of the pack instead of the middle. :angryfire:

    No shit, is our goal to make the playoffs or to win the f*cking Superbowl!
    What we've got here is failure to communicate.

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