The Minnesota Vikings are getting a reputation as a team that opposing quarterbacks don’t want to play against. In the past two weeks, they’ve been absolutely brutal with their pass rush, knocking quarterbacks silly and making them nervous in the pocket.
If you look at the stats, right now things don’t look all that impressive. The Vikings have only registered six sacks through 3 games, making them tied for 12th in the NFL. However, when you look more in-depth, you can see that the Vikings registered 12 QB hits on Sunday against the Chargers and 8 against the Detroit Lions.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is proud of his team’s pass rush and loves what he’s seeing. According to an article on Vikings.com, as long as the team is following the rules, Zimmer wants the hits to keep on happening.
"“We want to hit the quarterback as many times as we can, that’s for sure,” Head Coach Mike Zimmer said. “We want to do it legally; we want to do it in the right target area. I think we got one (penalty on a late hit against Rivers), but the last two weeks we’ve hit these guys a few times, but we’ve hit them clean.”"
Sep 27, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) gets off the ground after his pass was intercepted for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. The Minnesota Vikings beat the San Diego Chargers 31-14. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
The emphasis on ‘clean’ comes after allegations of dirty play from Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate following the game against the Detroit Lions. It was the focus on many questions during Minnesota Vikings press conferences and articles on TheVikingAge.com, but it isn’t anywhere near as big of a deal for Mike Zimmer and the team. Instead he and the players are focused on doing their best job to rattle the passer.
Defensive end Everson Griffen is one of the players that should have quarterbacks shaking in their boots. He personally accounted for 5 of the hits on Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and loves the physical play of the team.
"“We go out there and hit and play the game of football like it’s supposed to be played: hard hits, legal hits,” Griffen said. “We don’t take cheap shots. We just want to play football the hard, physical way. We’ve got great guys in our group that are doing great things right now. Linval Joseph, (Brian Robison), Sharrif Floyd, up and down the board. You can’t run (Joseph’s) way. You can’t do nothing. He’s stopping the run at every angle.”"
It’s not just defensive ends who love the pass rush, it’s making the job easier on the players that are in pass coverage. Safety Harrison Smith says that they are feeling the impact of the relentless attack on opposing quarterbacks all the way back in the secondary.
"“The guys up front, even if they didn’t get a sack, they were putting a lot of pressure back there, which makes it a lot easier for us,” safety Harrison Smith said. “If you don’t get pressure on the quarterback when he’s passing, eventually someone is going to be open. It always helps to have that.”"
The Minnesota Vikings will face a tough task on Sunday when they go up against future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning and that high-powered Denver Broncos passing offense. It will be interesting to see if the team’s pass rush can rattle a player like Manning the way they were able to get in the head of Matt Stafford and Philip Rivers.
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