: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings: Defense A Huge Question Mark

So as much as you see me ripping on Bill Musgrave for his play calls and personnel decisions I believe the other side of the ball was a larger factor in the week 2 loss against the bears. The unit has looked like a preseason defense for the first 2 weeks, lacking creativity in the playcalls and execution by the players. Alan Williams has kept the unit in a basic cover-two formation for most plays, which is to be expected, but very rarely does he dial up a blitz, rushing only the four down linemen play after play after play. Opposing QB’s have all day to stand in the pocket, making life difficult for the secondary. And please, don’t even get me started on the decision to play the prevent defense on the last play of the bears game instead of trying to put pressure on the often sacked Jay Cutler.

Going into the offseason the Linebacker position was a huge question mark and it looked like Spielman and Co. did a good job addressing that by picking up Desmond Bishop in free agency as well as drafting the 2 Penn State LB’s, Mauti and Hodges. The glaring hole was the MLB position, and Erin Henderson demanded he be given the opportunity to compete for that spot, he competed and he won. The coaches must have seen something from him that I have yet to see because from i can tell the young LB has looked confused and out of place the first 2 weeks of the season, which appears to be having a direct impact on the All-Pro Chad Greenway, as even he has been out of position and missing what would normally be sure tackles. Are they even playing Bishop? If so I sure can’t tell, I don’t recall hearing his name called once yet.

The D-line was putrid in week 1 with the absence of their anchor, Kevin Williams. Though they did show good improvement week 2 it still seemed as though they were having trouble putting pressure on the QB. The sack by Jared Allen that led to Brian Robison returning a fumble for a TD is the only sack from the defense as a whole .

Alan Williams needs to open up the playbook and find ways to pressure opposing QB’s, and if Henderson is not the answer at MLB they need to take a look at some other options.


-Jordan Nadel


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Tags: Alan Williams Erin Henderson Minnesota Vikings

  • Mike Bridges

    I absolutely agree! The Defense has been porous. Harrison Smith has been the star, which is great but, he is a Safety! The LB’s have been silent and that can’t be allowed to continue. Put Bishop in as a spark, or Mauti, or Hodges! Make a decision but, make a change! Henderson had his chance and he’s not getting it done and, maybe it is the DC’s fault. Maybe it’s both! Blitz at least 1 LB, or a CB or a S but, blitz someone! The push of the front 4 isn’t enough. Blitz and let those DT’s and DE’s stop that run. Personally, I think there needs to be changes at both Coordinators. Get 2 young Coordinators with fresh new ideas. Guys that can call plays that involve taking chances. Tough decisions must be made cuz it’s all about the team and not the Coaches! Yes, Ponder is struggling but, when he has a play called that he can succeed with, he gets it done. Why keep rolling him to his left to throw on the run?! He can’t do it….very few can! Let him throw to open guys in midrange and let them run in open places. That brings up another thing….PLAY CP! Patterson is a stud and he gets 5-6 plays in a whole game!? Musgrave either gets his best guys in and calls plays that can succeed, or get rid of him! Throw to AD like Detroit does to Bush! He’ll be devastating! Get a different MLB in and start dialing up blitzes or get rid of Williams. The Vikings have great players…..get them in the game and involved. If Frazier won’t do what’s needed, he needs to go! It’s all about the team, and the Vikings can be a great team! SKOL!

  • Daniel Laxen

    The defense is called the cover 2. There’s a way to play the cover 2. Each player plays within the confines of the defense. This is why this defense works. Erin Henderson is the starter because he plays within the confines of the defense better than Bishop, right now.. Bishop is the better athlete no doubt, but he free lances too much. Similar to what Darrin Sharper did when he came over from the Packers. The Packers simply do not play the same defense. When Bishop is up to speed he will be the starter…example: When Dwight Freeney was asked to play outside of the cover 2 he has struggled. So much that the Colts decided to go a different direction and allow a star 4-3 end to leave Indy. The largest mistake is to judge a defense on how much yardage they give up. I remember a few years ago the Colts couldn’t stop the run. Were last in the league in that stat and won the Suoerbowl. How does that happen? The defense the Colts employed? That was the cover 2!…Last week the defense gave up 7 points in the 2nd half on the road. Ponder gave up as many points on 1 play! The prevent defense works more often than it doesn’t. They were trying to work the clock, and hope Cutler would make a mistake. If you recall he had thrown 2 picks and fumbled another time prior to the last drive? What needs to happen? Players need to concentrate on their jobs. Stay in the confines of the cover 2. When someone varies in that regard they make the entire defense look bad. If players can’t do their job you find someone that will…The Vikings played very similar offenses the last 2 weeks. The match ups favored the opponents. This week is quite the opposite. The match up favors the Vikings. Everyone will look like geniuses when Patterson gets more looks. The guy that faces the worst of it will be Jennings. he’ll be up vs. Haden and the Vikings like most other teams will take their chances on the other side of the field. If Ponder struggles vs. the Browns he’ll be on his way out of Minnesota soon enough…

    • Daniel Laxen

      By the way vs. the Lions the field position battle was lost and the Lions had short fields all day!

  • Ramon Lang

    Henderson had been horrible for 2 years now. Linebacker was weakest link on this team and they never addressed it. It showed in the Green Bay playoff last year and the first 2 games this year. We need a change at LB quick or it can be an 0 win season if the Browns beat us.