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What Is Up With The Defensive Line?

The Vikings defensive line is normally thought of as one of the best in the league, but so far this season they are ranked 14th against the run and are tied for 28th in the league with only six sacks. 

The sack stat might be a little skewed because the Vikings are one of the few teams that have already had their bye week, but attention is starting to turn to the defensive line, especially with one player in particular.

“What’s happening with Jared [Allen] is that he’s still in a lot of situations where there are backs chipping and tight ends to his side and what it does is help other guys and helps our pass defense,” defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. “Our pass defense is really improved primarily because the type of blocks we’re getting from offenses right now. He’s going to have a bust-out game and hopefully it will be this weekend. He’s not a disappointment by any means whether it’s our run defense or pass defense. People pay a great deal of attention him. We just have to get the other guys who are getting one-on-ones to step up and help us in those areas.”

Allen only has one sack and has zero quarterback hurries through the first four games, who is getting a reputation as a “feast or famine” type of player.  This isn’t too out of the ordinary, as he registered 7.5 of his 14.5 sacks last season in the two Packers games.

If I didn’t know any better, however, Frazier came awful close to calling out every other player on the defensive line other than Allen.  After all, if the blocking schemes Frazier talks about are truly there, then other guys should be able to take advantage of that more than they have.

Either way, Allen thinks it is only a matter of time before he gets his numbers.

“There’s always little things that you can improve on but you’ve just got to keep plugging away,” Allen said. “Monday night I was there three times and could have had [Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez]. He escaped up the middle or I went this way, he went that way. It’s like a cat and mouse game. Eventually they’ll be sitting back there and they will come in bunches.”

Meanwhile, defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, who has half a sack in two games, sounds like he is ready to be a bigger part of the defense after missing the first two games with a knee injury.  In fact, it sounds like Kennedy is either confident enough to think he should be replacing Pat Williams on a more regular basis or he is scared to death about how well youngster Letroy Guion has performed throughout the preseason and regular season.

Either way, Kennedy is ready for a change and isn’t shy about saying so… emphatically.

“I’m pissed off with playing 15 plays last game,” Kennedy said. “I’m pissed off being under 30 snaps for the season. I’m never a cancer. That won’t happen. But look, as a competitor, I damn sure don’t like standing on the sidelines playing cheerleader — ‘Hey, let’s go, rah rah.’ (Forget) that. Not me. But if that’s what it takes this year in order for us to get a championship year, then so be it.”

Kennedy also described himself as “frustrated as hell.”

“I know one thing: When I’m out there, I’m making plays,” said Kennedy, after saying he wants to be credited with whole sacks instead of the half sack he and Ray Edwards split on Monday. “No matter how poor my technique is, that’s what it’s about, who’s going to produce.”

“Honestly, I don’t care,” Kennedy said. “I don’t care what they think because I know I’m going to go out there and do my thing to help this team win.”

I’m not sure what Kennedy has to be so “pissed” about, considering he has largely been a disappointment throughout his career until the Vikings gave him a chance to reemerge as a reliable defender.  Not to mention, he allowed to test free agency this last offseason and only got real interest from the lousy Buffalo Bills before he decided to re-sign with Minnesota.

Either way, the Vikings might want to give Kennedy a few more reps if his game on the field can be half as potent as his talk off the field.

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2 Responses to “What Is Up With The Defensive Line?”

  1. Zag says:

    I like Jimmy. I think he does as good a job of stuffing the run as Pat does, and for as little as he plays, he does still get in there on sacks. However, I wouldn’t be bothered if he played well this season, disappeared in offseason, and Letroy took a starting spot at DT. When that kid is in the game he is a beast. He came out of school early and undeveloped, but I think his time is coming.

  2. Lost Viking says:

    Vike have their best depth on the O line. So, where do the injuries arise? Naturally, in the D secondary. That’s just football.

    Jimmy Kennedy is an unselfish player. Far more range than Phat Pat who, as in past seasons, is playing himself into shape. Kennedy has excellent numbers and should be starting.

    Unfortunate Vike weren’t able to peddle Ray Ray Edwards in the off-season to open up D-line playing opportunities.

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