Minnesota Vikings big men emphasize playing ‘small ball’


If the Minnesota Vikings want to be successful during the 2015 NFL season, they’ll need great play from their defensive line.  Everson Griffen and Brian Robison hold down the ends well, but the task of stuffing the run and creating pressure from the inside will belong to Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd.

Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph spoke about the techniques that the defensive line are focusing on since organized team activities ended in an article on the team’s official website:

"“Since we came back for OTAs, that’s been the emphasis. We call it small ball. Everybody has to do their job. Your play is going to come to you when it’s time to make your play.”"

Dec 21, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph (98) chases Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) in the first quarter of the game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Small ball is a great way to focus on performing individual assignments while being part of a bigger unit.  Head coach Mike Zimmer always preaches knowing your role on the team and being in position so that your teammates can anticipate your position and develop a rapport.

Joseph is entering his second season with the Minnesota Vikings.  This will also be his second year playing alongside defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd.  Together, along with the other defensive lineman, they are in the process of building a solid defensive line.

"“Playing next to Sharrif is good because that’s my guy and you have to play off each other, just like all the other D-lineman. From last year to this year, we bonded a lot more and know exactly what we have to do to get the job done.”"

When talking about great defensive tackle pairings that the Minnesota Vikings have had, young fans remember the Williams Wall with Kevin and Pat Williams.  Older fans and historians think of the Purple People Eaters, with Alan Page and Gary Larsen holding down the middle.  The strong history at the position makes big shoes for Joseph and Floyd, but the two have shown plenty of potential.

Hopefully, the focus on small ball can help Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd one day reach the levels of the other legendary defensive tackle duos for the Minnesota Vikings, and I’m excited to watch them grow and develop together.

Next: Minnesota Vikings 2015 Game By Game Previews

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