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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Vikings: Errors still mar defense

    Posted on Mon, Sep. 04, 2006

    [size=13pt]Errors still mar defense[/size]
    Discipline a shortcoming, but takeaways are encouraging

    BY SEAN JENSEN
    Pioneer Press


    Moments after his defense forced four turnovers and limited the Dallas Cowboys to 10 points Thursday, Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin dismissed his unit's opportunistic ways and keyed in on a problem he wants to address.

    "We'll take the turnovers," Tomlin said emphatically. "But we're not going to dwell too much on the turnovers. We want to play fast, and play hard, and the turnovers will be a product of that.

    "But we have to play a little more disciplined, to be quite honest with you," he said. "Some of the adversity we faced tonight was self-induced, and part of being a good team is not beating yourself, and at times we were doing that. So we'll look at the tape, make corrections and move forward."

    Tomlin wasn't pleased that the defense gave up 521 net yards, or that it committed two 15-yard penalties early in the second quarter, or that Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo turned a shotgun snap over his head into a 32-yard pass to unheralded receiver Terrance Copper. The Vikings gave up an average of 352.5 yards a game in the preseason, putting them 29th in the NFL.

    But the unattractive stats end there.

    The Vikings' defense was successful in two key areas. It allowed the second-fewest points of any NFL team in the preseason (43 points) and registered a league-high 13 takeaways.

    So if the preseason is any indication, the Vikings' defense could finally turn itself around, going from an inferior unit to a superior one.

    The Vikings led the league in another all-important category: turnover differential. With the offense turning the ball over just three times, the Vikings' turnover differential was plus-10.

    How important is that?

    Consider that last season, eight of the nine teams with the top turnover differential went to the playoffs, and the only exception, the Kansas City Chiefs, ranked eighth in turnover differential.

    But Vikings veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield reiterated Tomlin's emphasis on limiting errors.

    "You can't make the mistakes in the regular season that you make in the preseason," Winfield said.

    For instance, Winfield misplayed Romo's pass to Copper. After the snap sailed over the quarterback's head, Winfield paused, and Copper, unaware of the errant snap, kept running down the right sideline. Romo recovered the ball, then launched a long pass to a wide-open Copper.

    "As a cornerback," Winfield said, "I have to keep the ball in front of me and make tackles."

    Vikings weak-side linebacker E.J. Henderson said teammates are just trying to make plays.

    "That's just a matter of a lot of hungry guys," Henderson said. "But we got to get used to handling our responsibility and letting everything happen.

    "That's a big part of it, just realizing that if someone is going to be in a gap, he'll be in that gap," Henderson said. "Just do what you got to do, and make the plays you're supposed to make. Don't try to make something happen at the expense of the call."

    Henderson said he and the other starting linebackers are getting that chemistry.

    "We kind of know what to expect from each other," he said. "As the season grows, we'll just feed off each other and jell better."

    Along with Ben Leber and Napoleon Harris, Henderson said the Vikings' linebackers no longer are a questionable unit. Henderson was a consistent playmaker during the preseason, Harris adequately communicated the calls to his defensive teammates, and Leber was a steady presence on the strong side.

    "I don't think we have a weak link on the defense," Henderson said.

    And Henderson immediately named the defense's strength.

    "It all starts up front," he said. "We got a lot of pressure on the quarterback, and that helped out, with how fast the quarterback had to get rid of the ball. We get a chance to play fast."

    Henderson said the next step is simple. Over the next week, the Vikings' defense will work on conditioning.

    "Most guys feel pretty good," he said. "But we still got to get conditioned to play a whole game."

    And to keep their preseason success rolling.

    Sean Jensen can be reached at [email protected]


    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    gregair13's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings: Errors still mar defense

    we are goign to need a bunch of turnovers and have everyone players as a unit to win games this year.
    We're bringing purple back.

  3. #3
    Torontovik15 is offline Rookie
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    Re: Vikings: Errors still mar defense

    We all could be happy with a bend dont break type of defence as long as, they make the big plays when they have to and limit them on the score board...Personally I dont care how many yard are against us, as long as they dont give up more then 14 points..
    What we got here is a failure to communicate.

  4. #4
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    Re: Vikings: Errors still mar defense

    "Torontovik15" wrote:
    We all could be happy with a bend dont break type of defence as long as, they make the big plays when they have to and limit them on the score board...Personally I dont care how many yard are against us, as long as they dont give up more then 14 points..
    Over the past years, we've been getting killed on short 5& 10 yard dumps where the receivers gained several yards after the catch & the prevent defense where we were 5 yards off the receiver. (Thanx Cottrell
    : )

    I don't want to see a repeat of that this year!

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  5. #5
    AngloVike's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings: Errors still mar defense

    "But we have to play a little more disciplined, to be quite honest with you," he said. "Some of the adversity we faced tonight was self-induced, and part of being a good team is not beating yourself, and at times we were doing that. So we'll look at the tape, make corrections and move forward."
    Like Tomlin's attitude and the fact that he won't accept things falling below the standards that he's trying to lay down. I like his attitude and we look as the players are buying into the system as well. Come back at the end of October and we'll have a better idea as to how things are working out.
    Time spent annoying a Packer fan is never time wasted...


  6. #6
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    Re: Vikings: Errors still mar defense

    the one big thing i noticed when watching our defense this preseason was too often the opposing offense would push a good drive on us until they get into the redzone, then the defense goes for blood, holding them to a field goal or forcing a turnover

    the thing they need to work on is playing at that level on a bigger field, rather than just in the redzone.
    all it does is tires our guys out

    although, the red zone has almost always been our weakness, almost always giving up a TD when a team made it there, so im pleased with what i saw


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