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.
“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.