The Vikings defense has been the team’s backbone for the last handful of seasons. Mike Zimmer takes pride in his group of defenders and he has coached the unit up to being one of the best in the NFL.
Whether it’s age or opposing teams are just beginning to figure out Zimmer’s scheme, Minnesota’s defense has taken a step back this year and no part has regressed more than the secondary.
At times this year, the Vikings secondary has been atrocious. They struggle in coverage and then they can’t seem to make a tackle.
Xavier Rhodes has easily been the biggest offender. It doesn’t matter if he’s lined up against a savvy vet or a raw rookie, he gets beat and beaten badly. His frustration has boiled over at times to the point where he is jawing at coaches and teammates on the sideline.
Minnesota’s opponents are well aware of Rhodes’ struggles and they have repeatedly targeted the former shutdown corner, exploiting and taking advantage of his weaknesses.
If the Vikings do make the playoffs this season, the poor performance of their secondary could be a major reason why they are either a one-and-done team or only advance to the second round.
Good teams will be aware of Minnesota’s coverage issues and continuously air it out against their corners. The Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, 49ers, and Saints all have dangerous receiving weapons and they have quarterbacks who aren’t afraid to throw the ball deep.
If the Vikings don’t shore this problem up quick, it’ll be a very brief playoff appearance for the Purple this year.