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Spreading The Love: The Defense & Special Teams

Antoine Winfield said that the defense deserved a B-minus grade after Monday Night’s victory.  Considering that if you take away Adrian Peterson’s fumble for a touchdown, the defense only gave up 16 points, I’m willing to give them a higher grade than that.  That doesn’t there were not a few things that could’ve been better though.

Let’s take a look at the defense’s performance on Monday Night:


Sack The Pack, Rope A Calf

That was Jared Allen’s routine on Monday night.  He took down Aaron Rodgers 4.5 times and was throwing around the poor saps the Pack lined up at left tackle as he also recorded a forced fumble and a safety.  The fact that Chad Clifton was out with an injury coupled with the Packers appearing to be more interested in double teaming Kevin Williams played major roles in Allen’s ridiculous performance.

Allen was also second on the team in tackles against the Packers, with 6.

Allen is now third in the NFL with 6.5 sacks on the year.  He may be able to pull into the lead next week against the lowly Rams.


Run Defense Holds Ground

The run defense looks slightly off, still.  Something is not quite right, and I’m thinking it has more to do with some poor tackles by the linebackers than a “crack in the WilliamsWall.”  Either way, the Vikings were pretty successful, giving up only 82 total rushing yards. 

Ryan Grant carried the ball 11 times for 51 yards.  That’s not bad for the league’s most overrated starting running back.

More importantly, the Vikings only let Rodgers scramble twice for positive yardage.  While the scramble that went for 11 yards should’ve been stopped sooner, the Vikings did a nice job reigning Rodgers in before he could take off.

Leber Was On Fire

Ben Leber gets very little credit in this Vikings defense.  On Monday Night, however, Leber was a true game changer.  He had fantastic closing speed on his impromptu sack of Rodgers.  He deflected a would-be touchdown pass after great effort.  He tackled Jermichael Finley on the flats to contribute to that amazing goalline stand.

Leber deserves more credit than he gets, and I am sure thankful he is on our side.

Winfield Liked Hawaii

It was a Monday Night Football performance last year against the Saints that sealed the deal on Antoine Winfield’s first election to the Pro Bowl.  Winfield must’ve liked it in Hawaii, because he’s using Monday Night as a good basis for getting back there again.

Winfield was all over the field, recording a team-high 9 tackles.  This included a monster hit on a screen play which allowed Jared Allen to get his safety on the next play.

Also, he was able to beat Greg Jennings to the sideline and snag an interception early in the game to help the Vikings get the momentum going their way.

That contract extension is looking lie smarter choice by the Vikes Brass every day.


Missed Tackles Are Unacceptable

It has been a long, long time since the Vikings have been a team that have trouble tackling.  However, between Tyrell Johnson, Chad Greenway, and Madieu Williams  I now have no faith in the Vikings ability to make a tackle. 

This is worrisome, as missed tackles result in big plays (see Johnson missing Finley) for touchdowns.  Some may only go for first downs (see Williams and Greenway missing Grant) but the damage is too much.  We cannot keep doing this or better teams are going to smoke us.

I hope Frazier makes these guys run some killers.


Way To Go Jaymar

Jaymar Johnson did an admirable job filling in for the injured Darius Reynaud at punt returner.  He only had two chances to make returns, but made the best out of those chances.  His returns went for 18 and 24 yards.  This was especially positive considering Percy Harvin was having a really tough day returning kicks.

It will be interesting to see if Johnson’s solid outing puts a damper on Reynaud’s plans to return. 

Either way, it is nice to see the Vikings finally looking really deep at the wideout position.


Special Teams Coverage The Best In Ages

The special teams coverage unit was the best I have seen on a long, long time.  The Packers averaged 24 yards on five kick return attempts and 0 yards on two punt return attempts.

The Vikings made a big push to improve the coverage unit during the offseason, and if Monday was any indication I would say it worked well.

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2 Responses to “Spreading The Love: The Defense & Special Teams”

  1. olderthandirt says:

    Also Sidney’s receptions of the onside kicks were awesome. Anything could have happened if he hadn’t gone up three feet above everyone else to bring them in.

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