Where is the Elite Defense?

A forum for the hard core Minnesota Vikings fan. Discuss upcoming games, opponents, trades, draft or what ever is on the minds of Viking fans!

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
MrPurplenGold
Hall of Fame Candidate
Posts: 3808
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:46 pm

Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by MrPurplenGold » Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:54 am

Mothman wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:09 pm


Newman and Robison are gone and Griffen's missed two games. Those are more recent changes and don't date back to last postseason but that's a potentially significant loss of veteran leadership. I doubt that's the main problem but maybe it's a factor?

I think the main problem is they are being out-schemed and out-played. The Rams executed very well, as did Philly in the championship game. However, teams are deliberately working to take Smith out of the game as much as possible. They are attacking the LBs in coverage and taking advantage of inexperience/vulnerability at DB (for example, Hughes has promise but his inexperience has been evident). They are finding and creating mismatches. No matter how good Barr is at his best, an LB in coverage against a WR or an RB with Gurley's ability is always going to be a mismatch. The Vikes play a lot of man-to-man coverage and that can work but it can also look pretty bad if the opposing team finds a mismatch they can exploit.
I agree with this for the most part. There are several factors, including personnel and scheme that are creating issues for the Vikings. Against the Rams their DL rotation was extremely thin with Griffen and Tom Johnson both missing the game. You're relying on Bowers and weatherly, who may be talented but are inexperienced. This is where still having someone like Robison on the roster could have helped. The same can be said with Newman. Now when Alexander or Hughes struggle in the slot, there's no one really to go to. With Hughes, it sounds like he trained primarily in the slot during training camp and is being forced to play outside with the injuries to Waynes. Schematically, teams are eliminating the ability to press the WRs at the line of scrimmage with trips formations, motions and misdirections. I think the vikings defense is pretty good when playing traditional lineup from one another and see who wins type football, but offenses are becoming more creative and finding ways to exploit mismatches. For as good as Harrison smith is, i think teams are eliminating the impact he has on the field. When smith roams near the LOS it creates a single high safety and sandejo isn't as rangy or as instinctive to make a lot of plays on the back end. I would like to see smith at a strongside LB type role with a 2 deep safety look with sandejo and someone else. I also think using Barr as a traditional type of LB limiting what kind of impact he can have on the field
0 x

mansquatch
Hall of Fame Candidate
Posts: 3597
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2005 2:44 pm
Location: Coon Rapids, MN

Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by mansquatch » Mon Oct 01, 2018 10:14 am

OK there is a lot of freak out in here.

Let us go back in time. Last season, on November 17th the Vikings completely dominated the Rams 24-7 at home. They made Jared Goff look pedestrian and held Todd Gurley to 37 yards. We held the Rams to 254 yards of total offense.

Fast forward to week 4 of this season, a road thursday night game no less, and the results are woefully different. Goff puts up 465 yards and Gurley rushes for 83 yards. The Rams score 38 points and put up 556 yards of total offense.

What changed in 10 months?

On the Vikings: No EG, No Newman, No B-Rob, Waynes is hobbled. Add SR.

On the Rams: They added Cooks.

However, the Rams WR were ALL OVER the field on us. They were putting up yards EVERYWHERE. They didn't do that in 2017. They were not just picking on one guy or one weakness, they picked on everything. So what changed?

On paper the Vikings Secondary has lost experience and is banged up at #2 CB. Nickel CB is a huge question mark. EG being gone hurts the #### rush.

Here is my opinion: Something changed in the playoffs last year. Teams are not trying to play us slow. They taking risk plays to get chunk yardage. PHI did this in the NFCCG. NO did it in the Divisional Round in the 2nd half. Rams did it on Thursday. Something is off with the D.

Pass Rush just "watches" differently. It shows up less.
Coverage is BAD. The Secondary is not playing as sharp nor as crisp as it did last year. Why?

I think the majority of this is mental. Most of these guys have played at a high level before. For some reason they aren't playing that way now. Why?

This screams coaching / morale / mental focus stuff.
0 x
Winning is not a sometime thing it is an all of the time thing - Vince Lombardi

User avatar
VikingLord
Hall of Famer
Posts: 5834
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2003 3:12 pm
Location: The Land of the Ice and Snow

Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by VikingLord » Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:08 pm

mansquatch wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 10:14 am
Here is my opinion: Something changed in the playoffs last year. Teams are not trying to play us slow. They taking risk plays to get chunk yardage. PHI did this in the NFCCG. NO did it in the Divisional Round in the 2nd half. Rams did it on Thursday. Something is off with the D.

Pass Rush just "watches" differently. It shows up less.
Coverage is BAD. The Secondary is not playing as sharp nor as crisp as it did last year. Why?

I think the majority of this is mental. Most of these guys have played at a high level before. For some reason they aren't playing that way now. Why?

This screams coaching / morale / mental focus stuff.
Scheme and tendencies. Opponents are seeing things in the pre-snap sets of the defense and have found ways to consistently exploit them.

I'm not sure about morale, but I also see a lack of aggressiveness and urgency, especially when they get down. They remind me of the defensive version of Geoff George at QB - tons of talent, but no leadership or heart. George could throw it almost anywhere and win games with his arm, but if he was in a gut-check situation, forget it.

Ironically, its the offense this year that seems to have some pluck and fight in it. Cousins, Diggs, Thielen, and Roc seem to rise to the challenge when called upon. They just haven't gotten much help from the defense.
0 x

User avatar
PacificNorseWest
Career Elite Player
Posts: 2630
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:10 am
Location: Seattle, Wa

Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by PacificNorseWest » Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:14 pm

:lol: Roc though?
0 x

User avatar
S197
Fenrir
Posts: 11476
Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 1:28 pm
Location: Hawaii

Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by S197 » Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:30 pm

Elite defenses are a thing of the past and I think is a poor strategy for long term success in the modern NFL. The only way you can sack a QB these days is by having the defender tear their ACL to avoid putting weight on the tackle. Hell, you don't even need to tackle the QB to get flagged! The illegal contact for defenders, the BS "hugging" technique linemen like GB can use, etc.

You're simply not going to see a Super Bowl end 10-7 anymore. The league wants points. For excitement, for fantasy football, all of these factors.

It's sad but it's a fact. This defense can be great, we've seen that but there are going to be lapses. Having an "elite" offense and an average/below average defense is the way to win in this day and age. It's going to be hard for the Vikings to switch strategies with Zimmer as coach but Cousins was a start (and sealing Diggs/Thielen). But if we're going to continue to neglect the OL we are doomed to repeat the history this franchise has had from the beginning. Close but never a cigar.
0 x

User avatar
PacificNorseWest
Career Elite Player
Posts: 2630
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:10 am
Location: Seattle, Wa

Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by PacificNorseWest » Mon Oct 01, 2018 6:53 pm

S197 wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:30 pm
Elite defenses are a thing of the past and I think is a poor strategy for long term success in the modern NFL. The only way you can sack a QB these days is by having the defender tear their ACL to avoid putting weight on the tackle. Hell, you don't even need to tackle the QB to get flagged! The illegal contact for defenders, the BS "hugging" technique linemen like GB can use, etc.

You're simply not going to see a Super Bowl end 10-7 anymore. The league wants points. For excitement, for fantasy football, all of these factors.

It's sad but it's a fact. This defense can be great, we've seen that but there are going to be lapses. Having an "elite" offense and an average/below average defense is the way to win in this day and age. It's going to be hard for the Vikings to switch strategies with Zimmer as coach but Cousins was a start (and sealing Diggs/Thielen). But if we're going to continue to neglect the OL we are doomed to repeat the history this franchise has had from the beginning. Close but never a cigar.
3 of the 4 teams that played in conference championship games were 3 of the best defenses in the game. 2 with an above average offense (Vikings/Eagles) and the other with an average, at best, offense (Jaguars).

This happens every year without fail. People get high on a team because of their explosive offense, only for them to fizzle out down the stretch. Also, it has always been that to start the year, we see a run of these bogus penalties. It's usually fixed as the season goes on and rarely has an impact on playoff games where they generally let the teams play.

Offense can get you to the playoffs, but defense is and has been how you win a Championship.

I like Minnesota's chances this year.
0 x

User avatar
S197
Fenrir
Posts: 11476
Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 1:28 pm
Location: Hawaii

Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by S197 » Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:22 pm

PacificNorseWest wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 6:53 pm
3 of the 4 teams that played in conference championship games were 3 of the best defenses in the game. 2 with an above average offense (Vikings/Eagles) and the other with an average, at best, offense (Jaguars).

This happens every year without fail. People get high on a team because of their explosive offense, only for them to fizzle out down the stretch. Also, it has always been that to start the year, we see a run of these bogus penalties. It's usually fixed as the season goes on and rarely has an impact on playoff games where they generally let the teams play.

Offense can get you to the playoffs, but defense is and has been how you win a Championship.

I like Minnesota's chances this year.
And yet the two best defenses didn't make it to the SB. The 3rd best (Chargers) didn't make the playoffs. I'd argue the opposite, a good defense can get you to the playoffs but an offense wins Championships. The Eagles were just a very complete team last year, which would of course be ideal, I'm just talking about prioritization.

I also think good QB's skew the stats a lot. The Patriots are usually near the top in defense year in and year out but I don't ever consider them to be elite. I think Tom Brady being GOAT helps the defensive stats a lot. It was Brady who orchestrated that amazing comeback against Atlanta (who had a bottom barrel defense the year they made it to the SB). A one legged Rodgers was able to come in and beat what is looking like a pretty good Bears defense a couple weeks ago.

You do see really good defenses winning it all (Seattle & Denver come to mind) so I'm not saying it isn't possible, just that the overall trend is very favorable to the offense. I can't recall a favorable defensive rule in recent memory. But I do know corners can't be as aggressive, the catch rule is fixed, defenseless receiver rule, hands to the face, crown of the helmet, full weight on the QB/"Rodgers rule", are all recent additions.

The NFL is gravitating towards a "safer" game and I think that makes Legion of Boom type defenses really tough to influence games like they used to. Can you imagine what an offense like the '98 Vikings could do under the new rules? Maybe I'm just jaded because the defense is performing so poorly right now, I'm just really worried we're taking an old school approach to a game that has evolved away from that strategy.
0 x

mansquatch
Hall of Fame Candidate
Posts: 3597
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2005 2:44 pm
Location: Coon Rapids, MN

Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by mansquatch » Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:01 am

I have to say I disagree. Look at the most recent Vikings/Rams game. The Rams were able to stop us on Offense a few more times than we did them and they won in a shootout. Even if the league is going all points all the time, the team that can get that stop with any kind of consistency is the one who is most likely to win.

This team was elite last year on defense. So were the Jags. The issue is they were not consistent. What elite offenses know is that a team with a dominant pass rush will eventually tire out in the 4th quarter and lose some of it's steam. That is how the Patriots beat the Jags. So you need balance. The issue with the purple is that right now we are not getting the first 3/4 of the game where they are not tired.

I've said it all week: 9 of 11 guys played on this unit played at an elite level last season. Richardson, who is #10 is showing up for us, much more than Tom Johnson did. #11 is the Slot Corner. We have problems there. But that doesn't explain why the other 9 guys are playing like crap. This isn't a talent thing. This is a mental edge thing and the Vikings have yet to show that they have it.
0 x
Winning is not a sometime thing it is an all of the time thing - Vince Lombardi

User avatar
VikingLord
Hall of Famer
Posts: 5834
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2003 3:12 pm
Location: The Land of the Ice and Snow

Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by VikingLord » Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:01 am

S197 wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:30 pm
Elite defenses are a thing of the past and I think is a poor strategy for long term success in the modern NFL. The only way you can sack a QB these days is by having the defender tear their ACL to avoid putting weight on the tackle. Hell, you don't even need to tackle the QB to get flagged! The illegal contact for defenders, the BS "hugging" technique linemen like GB can use, etc.

You're simply not going to see a Super Bowl end 10-7 anymore. The league wants points. For excitement, for fantasy football, all of these factors.

It's sad but it's a fact. This defense can be great, we've seen that but there are going to be lapses. Having an "elite" offense and an average/below average defense is the way to win in this day and age. It's going to be hard for the Vikings to switch strategies with Zimmer as coach but Cousins was a start (and sealing Diggs/Thielen). But if we're going to continue to neglect the OL we are doomed to repeat the history this franchise has had from the beginning. Close but never a cigar.
How about a competent defense? Let's concede "elite" defense is not possible, but can we expect competent?

Competent defense that doesn't let TEs and backup RBs run wide open down the field?

Competent defense that doesn't commit stupid penalties?

Competent defense that recognizes when a runner is consistently cutting back to pick up extra yards on 1st down carries and adjusts to stop it?

Competent defense that remains a little unpredictable in terms of setup and scheme so opposing offensive coordinators can't play it like a fiddle?

I don't think the Vikings defense can even claim competence since the second half of the divisional playoff win over the Saints last year. It's a defense with a lot of experience and talent that, for whatever reason, is being strung and quartered on a regular basis now by even really crappy offenses like that of the Bills.

The Vikings defense is so far from elite right now that they'd need to apply for a visa to even visit. It's a bad defense right now and I think the Eagles are next up to toss it around like one of those killer whales playing with a seal it caught. We'll see I guess, but I still think Zimmer thinks they just have to play better. I don't think he has accepted his scheme is not working anymore.
0 x

User avatar
MrPurplenGold
Hall of Fame Candidate
Posts: 3808
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:46 pm

Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by MrPurplenGold » Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:10 pm

http://m.startribune.com/film-review-th ... 94898961/
If there is a ‘blueprint’ strategy that’s stood above others to beat the Vikings defense, it has been the misdirection concepts through play-action passes that have stifled a fierce one-on-one pass rush and forced Vikings linebackers and defensive backs to scramble.


For the third time in four weeks, an opposing quarterback was among that week’s leaders in play-action yardage against the Vikings defense. The only one who hasn’t been — Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers — simply doesn’t use play action in the offense.
0 x

User avatar
vikeinmontana
Career Elite Player
Posts: 2833
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2009 12:23 pm

Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by vikeinmontana » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:39 am

0 x
i'm ready for a beer.

User avatar
808vikingsfan
Hall of Fame Candidate
Posts: 3520
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:45 pm
Location: Hawaii

Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by 808vikingsfan » Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:11 am

post in reddit:
Last year, the Vikings’ defense allowed only 15.8 points per game, the best figure in the NFL.

This year, the Vikings are allowing three more points than that in the first half alone.

What happened?

After the Vikings lost last week to the Rams, Mike Zimmer summed it up:

Some of it was corners, some of it was safeties, some of it was linebackers, some of it was nickels, some of it was me.

So yeah basically everything. Sounds flippant, but I think Zimmer's right: the players just aren't playing as well as they used to. Let me explain by going through some key mistakes in all four Vikings games so far this year:
article here:
[OC] What the heck happened to the Vikings' defense? (self.nfl)

So to tl;dr, the Vikings have struggled, not so much because of the scheme or anything, but mostly because the secondary (and Kendricks) kinda suck now.

If you want to read more, this is basically a summary of this article that goes into more detail. Also /u/skepticismissurvival had two really great in-depth breakdowns on the 49ers and the Rams games.
0 x
Joined: Aug 2006
Deleted: Sept 12 2014
Reborn: Sept 17 2014

User avatar
J. Kapp 11
Hall of Famer
Posts: 7097
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 12:57 pm

Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by J. Kapp 11 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:51 am

808vikingsfan wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:11 am
post in reddit:



article here:
[OC] What the heck happened to the Vikings' defense? (self.nfl)
Phenomenal breakdown. Thanks for sharing this. I learned a lot.
0 x
Image
Go ahead. I dare you.
Underestimate this man.

User avatar
Cliff
Site Admin
Posts: 8618
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2004 5:51 pm
Location: Kentucky

Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by Cliff » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:56 am

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer was asked to assess the 2018 play of Rhodes, who was an All-Pro for the first time last season.

“I know everybody wants to evaluate everybody after four weeks, but I think if you remember last year, Xavier had some penalties early in the year. We cleaned them up,” Zimmer said. “This isn’t a time for ‘woe is me.’ If people remember, we were 2-2 this time last year. We finished 13-3. We were 5-0 the year before, and we finished 8-8. We were 2-2 the year before that, and we finished 11-5, so all the predictors — this isn’t a good time to predict.”

Rhodes said the Vikings believe they can correct the errors.

“We need to cover our guys, stop making mistakes, making errors because it’s a domino effect,” Rhodes said. “If one guy messes up, another guy does, a guy is open, and the quarterback finds that guy. … Somebody is open in our defense. We just need to play our key, know where we need to be and stop making mistakes.”
NOTEBOOK: Xavier Rhodes Says Vikings D Must Stop ‘Domino Effect’
0 x

User avatar
PacificNorseWest
Career Elite Player
Posts: 2630
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:10 am
Location: Seattle, Wa

Re: Where is the Elite Defense?

Post by PacificNorseWest » Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:01 pm

The Vikings will get it corrected. There's little doubt in my mind about that.

I am wondering how this secondary will pan out though. They are out of sync in coverage. Especially in combo with the LB's. I also watched a short interview with Iloka and he seems like he's rearing and ready to go. I want to see him get some action to see if he can spark this defense.
0 x