Out with the old, in with the new. That’s the slogan for this year’s Vikings defense. Out with Leslie Frazier’s passive Tampa-2, its vanilla coverages and zone techniques. In with Mike Zimmer’s aggressive, disguise-heavy hybrid scheme.
It’s not hard to figure out which defense Harrison Smith likes better (via the Star-Tribune):
“I love how we are aggressive with closing space with receivers, not really just dropping into zones and giving them spots to throw the ball,” he said. “That’s just the way, in my mind, that defense is [played]. It’s aggressive, chase down the ball carrier, be physical.”
Smith has already gotten a chance to blitz in Mike Zimmer’s D, something he was rarely called upon to do under Leslie Frazier. The third-year safety sounds revved up to be in a defense that gives him a chance to show off all his many skills.
“We’ve got everything that you can imagine going on right now,” he said. “Anything you can think of a safety doing.”
That big smile on Harrison Smith’s face? That’s the look of a man who is no longer yoked to an outdated defensive system run by a timid, conservative-minded coach. Mike Zimmer is ready to take the leash off and let the H-dog run.