Can the defense continue to round into shape?
During the most recent game-action for the Vikings, the defense turned Matthew Stafford into a piñata in a Week 9 victory over the Detroit Lions.
Minnesota’s defenders tortured the Lions signal-caller all afternoon and racked up a franchise-record 10 sacks by the time the game was over. The performance helped inflate the Vikings’ sack total to 31 and tied them with the Seattle Seahawks for most in the NFL entering Week 10.
It’s tempting to say that this was just one good performance against a team headed in the wrong direction, but the truth is that Minnesota’s defensive line has continued to get stronger as the season has rolled along.
Minnesota Vikings 8' Billiard Cloth
Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson has made an impact for the unit on his one-year prove it deal and even after missing a game with various ailments, fellow defensive tackle Linval Joseph has picked it up in the past couple games. Add in the return of defensive end Everson Griffen and the addition of veteran reserve Tom Johnson to add experience and depth to the line, this unit may not have even played its best football yet.
In the secondary, Xavier Rhodes and Andrew Sendejo have missed time with injuries, but they should both benefit from the week off. Their return also coincides with linebacker Anthony Barr, who will look to have a better second half after being the scapegoat of the defense at the beginning of the year.
The defense is the backbone of this team and if they can return to their 2017 form, they’re going to give opposing teams fits in the second half of the season.