Vikings Need Another Strong Defensive Effort to Beat Falcons


The Vikings at one point early last week looked like they were well on their way to getting blown out of the stadium by Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. Again.

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The Saints marched down the field two times on the Vikings in the first quarter, and had 13 points on the board before most fans had even had a chance to settle in on their sofas.

It looked like the Vikings were in for a repeat of that infamous, seared-into-our-memories-like-a-brand 2011 game where Drew Brees put up historically dominating numbers against a decimated Vikings secondary in leading New Orleans to a 42-20 victory.

Fans’ hearts sank as they thought about the long afternoon ahead. The long day of watching Drew Brees slice and dice the Vikings’ hapless secondary. Again.

But those dread-filled fans forgot about one thing: Mike Zimmer.

Zim didn’t get his reputation as a defensive guru for nothing. Whether it was some in-game tweak or simply a matter of sticking with the original game plan despite the early poor results, the Vikings’ D stayed calm and stepped up.

A relentless rush knocked Drew Brees off his game in a way we’ve seldom seen over the course of his great career. Zimmer dialed up pressure from every angle, slowing the Saints’ passing attack and allowing the offense a chance to crawl back in.

The offense, robbed of any semblance of a running game and struggling to get receivers open, was unable to capitalize. The game finally did swing back the Saints’ way after Captain Munnerlyn was ridiculously flagged for roughing Brees.

But in the span between that second early Saints TD and the penalty that should not have been called, the Vikings put together one of the best defensive performances we’ve from our team in many a moon.

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  • Holding the Saints to 20 points in their home stadium with Drew Brees not injured ranks as a terrific accomplishment, even if the Vikings ultimately lost the game.

    That defensive effort should have given Viking fans a boost of confidence going deeper into the season. The Vikings may still be under-manned on defense, but the effort is there and so is the scheme.

    Mike Zimmer gets the credit for not only implementing the scheme but keeping everybody calm in the face of what looked like a meltdown. Clearly, the players have faith in Zimmer. That’s why, unlike past Vikings teams, they didn’t fold up in the face of the Saints’ onslaught.

    The Vikings may have lost the game but they passed a tough test in the way they performed defensively against the Saints. They will face another stern test this week as they host the Atlanta Falcons.

    The Falcons are one of the NFL’s most potent passing teams after three weeks. After an off-year, Matt Ryan appears to have regained his Pro Bowl form. And Julio Jones has become an absolute terror as a wide receiver.

    For the Vikes to hold up against the Falcons, they’ll need another concerted defensive effort like they showed last week. Mike Zimmer will have to come with the timely blitz calls. The secondary will have to come up with some big plays to help out Teddy Bridgewater and the scuffling offense.

    Maybe I’m just slurping too much Zimmer Kool Aid, but I expect the Vikings will be ready on defense. They may still not have enough good players to win consistently but the days of folding up the tent after taking an early punch are over.

    Leslie Frazier ain’t walking through that door. And that’s good news for everyone in purple.