Vikings defense starts to assert itself
With big names, and big paychecks, at every level of their defense, the Minnesota
Those expectations have been realized. It just took the stingy group a little longer to get there than they would have liked.
In five weeks leading into their bye, the
Since their bye week a month ago, however, the
“They are playing swarming defense,” coach Brad Childress said. “They are getting a bunch of guys to the ball.”
Just ask the Chicago
“I think the last three games we’re playing the type of defense that really all along we expected to play,” linebacker
Allen has 12 1/2 of the team’s league-leading 40 sacks. Kevin and
And they have done it without Pro Bowl cornerback
While the combined record of their last three opponents is 10-23, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is still encouraged by the increased production. During the self-scouting portion of their bye week, Frazier cringed at the number of missed tackles he saw that led to big gains by opposing offenses.
It had to stop, Frazier told his defenders. And it has.
“Our guys have done a really good job in that area coming back,” Frazier said. “Our yards after catch have decreased tremendously and we just got to keep it going week after week and this will be a big week for it.”
“I think we’re starting to come together,” Henderson said. “Turnover-wise, pressure up front, tackling, getting back to what we do and smashing the run, everything is starting to come together.”
Favre has been given much of the credit for the team’s success this year, and it appears that the 40-year-old quarterback’s presence even brings benefits to the defense as well. Give Favre, Peterson and the offense an assist for hogging the ball.
“The best defense is an offense that stays on the field,” Henderson said. “If they keep doing that, it’s great. We feel way more fresh. Better on Monday, better on Tuesday. I like watching those boys play and see No. 4 and the boys go to work.”
Just how far the defense has come will soon be evident. With Arizona and division-leading Cincinnati on the schedule, the tests will only get tougher.
“We have a tougher stretch coming up now with some offenses that are having some luck and a lot of weapons,” Greenway said. “We’ll see where we stand after these next few weeks, but we feel good with where we’re at since the bye.”