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 Vikings Hoping Secondary is Much-improved 
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Post Vikings Hoping Secondary is Much-improved
This is a good read:

http://www.1500espn.com/sportswire/Zulg ... oved082212

The quote below was mentioned briefly in another thread yesterday:

Quote:
Leslie Frazier would prefer to avoid recalling what it was like going against the pass-happy offenses in the NFC North last season, but the always cordial Minnesota Vikings coach proved willing to discuss the subject when it was broached on Wednesday.

In fact, Frazier decided to give a specific example of just how challenged the shorthanded Vikings secondary was at one point last season.

"We played a team, I won't mention the team," Frazier said. "One of the secondary coaches called me after the game and said, 'Man, going into the game, we knew if we put this package on the field you could match up, if we did this you couldn't match up. I don't know what you are going to do, but you guys have to address your secondary.'"

There were numerous reasons why the Vikings posted a dismal 3-13 record last season, tying the worst mark in franchise history, and the subpar play in the secondary was a major one of them.


... and some of the comments below address a subject that, if I remember correctly, was hotly debated here at times last season:

Quote:
"There are some things we can do personnel-wise if you have the number of defensive backs that we are thinking about keeping, versus where we have been in the past," Frazier said. "Now you can match up a little bit better when people go three, four, and five wide receivers. It eliminates the potential of you having to stay in zone coverage all the time like we've had to do over particularly this past year.

"That will help us, that you can't just go into the game saying 'Well they've only got this many defensive backs, they have to play this particular coverage.' Then the flexibility we have with some of our linebackers that have the ability to cover as well and can blitz off the edge. If we can keep these guys healthy we have a chance to be a little bit more creative with the way that we want to approach opposing offenses."

The Vikings had to like what they saw from Smith as he made his first preseason start in last Friday's win over Buffalo. Sent on a blitz in the first quarter, Smith knocked down a third-down pass from Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Given the fact the Vikings seem to have more confidence in their safeties, that should enable them to do more things with that position, too. It's been a while since that was the case.

"If you know that you have a liability, especially today when you have safeties that have got to cover tight ends, you have a liability there and it's going to get exposed when you play man so you are less likely to play man coverage because you are going to have problems," Frazier said. "It depends how you want to die, slow death or quick death?"

Frazier would prefer to see his defense not experience either type of death in 2012.


Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:13 am
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Post Re: Vikings Hoping Secondary is Much-improved
So do about 2+ Million Viking fans :wink:

On a serious note - Nice article. It's at least encouraging to know that:

1) Frazier seems to understand the problem; and
2) He didn't "throw his defense under the Bus" last year by being as critical of them as he could have been.

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Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:37 am
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Post Re: Vikings Hoping Secondary is Much-improved
Griffen deserved criticism and that eeked out a bit last year. Aside from that I’m not sure what Frasier would have had to criticize. The rest of the guys were either developmental guys completely in over their head, on IR, or in the case of Cook, having legal issues. Cook was probably rippable, but if Frasier had done that then most likely Cook would not be in training camp with the Vikings right now.

The situation sucked last year, but IMO, Frasier handled it about as well as could be expected. They’ve had 2 consecutive seasons with a mass concentration of injuries in the secondary, and their Win/Loss record in a pass happy NFL reflects it. That obviously wasn’t the only issue on the team, but it is certainly a huge factor. There is now hope, but as a fan, I’m concerned that the injuries might represent a trend with our current starters. Hopefully the new talent can help reverse this trend.

Interestingly though, I read a piece a few days ago about the state of our NFC North rivals and none of them have anything good happening in the secondary. After reading it, I felt like the Vikings might actually have a shot at having the best secondary in the NFC north. This isn’t to say ours is great, just that there is a ton of mediocrity out there in the division for this position group. The Vikes need guys to stay healthy and some of the talent to turn the corner, especially Ponder, but if they do, then I think this team is at least on paper the most balanced in the conference.

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Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:01 am
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Post Re: Vikings Hoping Secondary is Much-improved
mansquatch wrote:
Griffen deserved criticism and that eeked out a bit last year. Aside from that I’m not sure what Frasier would have had to criticize. The rest of the guys were either developmental guys completely in over their head, on IR, or in the case of Cook, having legal issues. Cook was probably rippable, but if Frasier had done that then most likely Cook would not be in training camp with the Vikings right now.

The situation sucked last year, but IMO, Frasier handled it about as well as could be expected. They’ve had 2 consecutive seasons with a mass concentration of injuries in the secondary, and their Win/Loss record in a pass happy NFL reflects it. That obviously wasn’t the only issue on the team, but it is certainly a huge factor. There is now hope, but as a fan, I’m concerned that the injuries might represent a trend with our current starters. Hopefully the new talent can help reverse this trend.

Interestingly though, I read a piece a few days ago about the state of our NFC North rivals and none of them have anything good happening in the secondary. After reading it, I felt like the Vikings might actually have a shot at having the best secondary in the NFC north. This isn’t to say ours is great, just that there is a ton of mediocrity out there in the division for this position group. The Vikes need guys to stay healthy and some of the talent to turn the corner, especially Ponder, but if they do, then I think this team is at least on paper the most balanced in the conference.


Do you mean in the conference or in the division?

You make an interesting point about the other secondaries in the NFCN. The Lions had real issues in their secondary last season and they finished with the highest ranked pass defense in the division (#22 in yards allowed). Believe it or not, the Vikes were next at #26 with Chicago at #28 and GB dead last at #32. There are obviously other factors to consider, especially with a team like GB that scored so much, but this is clearly a division with pass coverage issues. If the Vikes can get better on offense and do a better job taking the ball away, that could make a big difference.

Speaking of takeaways... they put the rankings mentioned above in a different perspective. GB was dead last in passing yards allowed but #1 in INTs with an impressive 31! The Lions had 21 and the Bears (who always seem pretty good in that department) had 20. The Vikings had a measly 8 INTs. :(


Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:32 am
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Post Re: Vikings Hoping Secondary is Much-improved
Mothman wrote:
The Vikings had a measly 8 INTs. :(



didn't they go like 10 weeks without one or something?

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Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:33 am
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Post Re: Vikings Hoping Secondary is Much-improved
PurpleMustReign wrote:
Mothman wrote:
The Vikings had a measly 8 INTs. :(



didn't they go like 10 weeks without one or something?


They mention that in the article. They went nine games without an INT, from Oct. 16 through Dec. 18.


Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:39 am
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Post Re: Vikings Hoping Secondary is Much-improved
Mothman wrote:
You make an interesting point about the other secondaries in the NFCN. The Lions had real issues in their secondary last season and they finished with the highest ranked pass defense in the division (#22 in yards allowed). Believe it or not, the Vikes were next at #26 with Chicago at #28 and GB dead last at #32. There are obviously other factors to consider, especially with a team like GB that scored so much, but this is clearly a division with pass coverage issues. If the Vikes can get better on offense and do a better job taking the ball away, that could make a big difference.(


The secondary wasn't the only passing game problem for the Vikings. Their offense couldn't throw the ball well for numerous reasons either.

Last year's team had so many holes that there simply was no way to plug all of them. There were going to be leaks no matter what Frazier or the coaching staff did.


Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:05 am
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Post Re: Vikings Hoping Secondary is Much-improved
losperros wrote:
Mothman wrote:
You make an interesting point about the other secondaries in the NFCN. The Lions had real issues in their secondary last season and they finished with the highest ranked pass defense in the division (#22 in yards allowed). Believe it or not, the Vikes were next at #26 with Chicago at #28 and GB dead last at #32. There are obviously other factors to consider, especially with a team like GB that scored so much, but this is clearly a division with pass coverage issues. If the Vikes can get better on offense and do a better job taking the ball away, that could make a big difference.(


The secondary wasn't the only passing game problem for the Vikings. Their offense couldn't throw the ball well for numerous reasons either.

Last year's team had so many holes that there simply was no way to plug all of them. There were going to be leaks no matter what Frazier or the coaching staff did.


That's true and we'll probably be able to say the same thing about this year's team, although they should be better. Most of us agreed there was no way to completely "fix" the team in one offseason. It looks like they've done a good job of addressing some of their biggest weaknesses but they will still have to deal with unproven and developing players, the depth at some positions is thin and injuries are always a possibility. Hopefully, coaching and personnel upgrades will take the team as far as it can reasonably go this season but they will undoubtedly have plenty of work left to do in 2013.


Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:12 am
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Post Re: Vikings Hoping Secondary is Much-improved
with the way the rules are being enforced to protect QBs and minimize contact with WR's, secondaries that are mediocre seem to be the norm.

Everyone wants shut down CBs in their backfield....but they just don't grow on trees. I've chirped about the importance of safety quite often...but it just seems that as things evolve and the down field passing becomes more clinical, having smart, physical guys with hi football IQ's at safety will be a must. Like a QB on defense.

Really you can't afford any real weak links back there at any position as offenses are quick to exploit the match ups.

If they can stay clear of injuries and keep a good pass rush, I think they'll be decent.


Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:54 am
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Post Re: Vikings Hoping Secondary is Much-improved
Moth: I meant NFCN, sorry if I wan't clear.

Safety is a huge issue, the problem is outside of Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu there just are not that many great Safeties playing in the NFL. It is a huge issue for the entire league. That doesn't help us, but we are certainly not alone.

INT and TO in general were a major problems for our defense, and have been for a few seasons. Green Bay went 15-1 on the #32 ranked pass defense. A big reason was the Takeaways allowing them to baloon leads on opponents and then coast a big lead to a W. There was some statistic last year that a contributing factor to their loss at KC was the fact that it was their first game without a pick all year. Obviously ARog and co have somethign to do with 15-1, but the picks were a big deal for them. Momentum changers. Heck we probably would have beat them at home if not for Ponder's two picks.

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Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:07 pm
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Post Re: Vikings Hoping Secondary is Much-improved
mansquatch wrote:
INT and TO in general were a major problems for our defense, and have been for a few seasons.


INTs have been a problem but I wouldn't say turnovers in general have been a problem. A lot of fans don't probably don't realize it but the Vikings led the league in fumble recoveries last year and have excelled in forcing and recovering fumbles throughout Frazier's tenure as DC and HC. INTs are another story. They've been average or far worse in that category over the same time period. :(

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Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:18 pm
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Post Re: Vikings Hoping Secondary is Much-improved
Last time we had a regular season pick six? Jared Allen vs Lions Week 17 2010. :wallbang:

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Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:23 pm
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Post Re: Vikings Hoping Secondary is Much-improved
Mothman wrote:
mansquatch wrote:
INT and TO in general were a major problems for our defense, and have been for a few seasons.


INTs have been a problem but I wouldn't say turnovers in general have been a problem. A lot of fans don't probably don't realize it but the Vikings led the league in fumble recoveries last year and have excelled in forcing and recovering fumbles throughout Frazier's tenure as DC and HC. INTs are another story. They've been average or far worse in that category over the same time period. :(

Jim


But those fumbles are fewer and far between. We had 15 recoveries. The Packers had 31 INTs.

23 takeaways vs 38 is a pretty big difference when you're talking the difference that turnover a game could make. (especially if you want to bring out the "lose close games" number). And it's even showing up this preseason with dropped INTs and bouncing off peoples hands)


Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:49 pm
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Post Re: Vikings Hoping Secondary is Much-improved
Demi wrote:
Mothman wrote:
mansquatch wrote:
INT and TO in general were a major problems for our defense, and have been for a few seasons.


INTs have been a problem but I wouldn't say turnovers in general have been a problem. A lot of fans don't probably don't realize it but the Vikings led the league in fumble recoveries last year and have excelled in forcing and recovering fumbles throughout Frazier's tenure as DC and HC. INTs are another story. They've been average or far worse in that category over the same time period. :(

Jim


But those fumbles are fewer and far between. We had 15 recoveries. The Packers had 31 INTs.

23 takeaways vs 38 is a pretty big difference when you're talking the difference that turnover a game could make. (especially if you want to bring out the "lose close games" number). And it's even showing up this preseason with dropped INTs and bouncing off peoples hands)


It is a big difference. My point was just that the turnover problem is specific: it's interceptions.


Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:52 pm
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