Sep 29, 2013; London, UNITED KINGDOM; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway (52) during the NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Steelers 34-27. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chad Greenway Says Vikings Defense Will ‘Look Like a 4-3′


You can put that baby to bed, as someone somewhere once said. All your Vikings 3-4 defense speculation is now rendered obsolete thanks to Chad Greenway who confirmed that the Vikings are a 4-3 under Mike Zimmer.

Sort of.

“We’ll look like a 4-3 defense, which is what we are for the most part,” the veteran linebacker told veteran scribe Sid Hartman. “Of course, coach Zimmer and coach [George] Edwards are very good at manipulating the front and making it look different.”

So there it is for those who need an answer to the question “will the Vikings be a 4-3 or a 3-4?” Chad Greenway says they’re mostly a 4-3 but of course at times they’re not going to look like a 4-3.

In truth, the whole question doesn’t matter one lick. The old 4-3 vs. 3-4 distinctions mean nothing in today’s world of hybrid defenses, subpackages and the like. The Vikings, if Zimmer is true to form, will throw lots of looks at offenses. Five-man fronts. Three-man fronts. Zone dogs. Corner and safety blitzes. The whole enchilada.

The important thing won’t be the looks, which a lot of times will be disguises anyway, it will be the matchups within the looks.

“But really, you’re going to notice the biggest difference in our coverage,” Greenway told Hartman when explaining how the Vikings defense will depart from Leslie Frazier’s generic Tampa-2. “We used to sit back in a zone the majority of the time, for the past eight years, basically. Now we’re not going to be doing much of that at all. We’re going to be playing a lot of matchup stuff. That makes defenses a little more difficult to learn. There’s a lot of moving parts to each defense, and they’re all a little different, and you just have to work through those kinks. And now is the time to do it.”

Zimmer’s system, like Norv Turner’s offensive scheme, is more complicated than what we’ve become used to around these parts. It looks like the 21st Century has finally arrived in Minnesota. Now we need to find out if the players are good enough to execute the schemes.

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  • MikeH123

    Vikings can’t even field 3 good LBs let alone 4. NFL(dot)com has Vikings as a 4-2-5 D.

    • Ken Tomlin

      In the VIKES old 4-3 ( cover2/ tampa2) defense our LBs were not put in the best situation to succeed based on their skill sets. Zimmer’s use of LBs in his scheme will be different, so to say we don’t have even 3 good LBs is premature on your part. Also, as far as 4-2-5 def according to to nfl(dot)com, that’s just one way a def can play the “nickel def” it all depends on number of WR’s and TEs an offense uses. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a 3-3-5 or 5-1-5 in nickel and 4-1-6, 3-2-6 or even a 3-1-7 when teams come out with 4wr/1te or 5wr sets. No team plays the same def all game! Don’t worry/read to much into all the “talk” of what our def will be/look like. Who cares, as long as they stop opposing offenses from scoring and we win. That’s the important thing!

      • MikeH123

        But their best LB, the 31 yo Chad Greenway appears to be declining, with his worst year ever last year, grading 34th among 35 qualifiers in Pro Football Focus’ 4-3 outside linebacker ratings. Barr is just a rookie. Brinkley is nothing more than a plug-in run-stopper who can’t cover the pass. Hodges and Cole are unproven and not even very promising.

      • Daniel Laxen

        I beg to differ. Last year the Vikings played the same defense ALL year…BAD DEFENSE! LOL

  • David Mallow

    could do either considering we have 6 or 7 good LBs… Greenway, Barr, Brinkley, Cole, Mauti, Hodges and Watts…could also bump Griffen, Crichton or Robison to OLB in those positions…. I think 90% of the time they will be in a 43 defense, but a change up here and there will be fine…

  • 3kolu

    I don’t believe the question is if we’re good enough, but rather smart enough. Our success will be predicated on the ability to learn and apply. I agree with David that we have an abundance of talent at LB. Also, the D line looks solid and our defensive backfield will be much better this season.