No. 1: Minnesota Vikings’ Defensive Turnaround
A year ago, the Minnesota Vikings boasted the NFL’s fifth-best scoring defense, allowing a total of 303 points.
But maintaining the unit which helped reach that notable accolade wasn’t sustainable. The team said goodbye to EDGE Everson Griffen during the offseason. Same with defensive tackle Linval Joseph. Perhaps rookie defensive linemen James Lynch and D.J. Wonnum help fill the voids left right away, but that’s always a tall order for rookies to do.
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Same thing on the back end of the defense, where the Vikings lost cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes, Mackensie Alexander and Trae Waynes.
TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney will be expected to fill one of the voids left by those three veteran defensive backs. It’ll be interesting to see where Gladney’s best fit will be. And one shouldn’t overlook the Vikings’ Round 3 NFL Draft pick, Mississippi State corner Cameron Dantzler.
Dantzler seems a perfect boundary corner, which is fine. He’ll be a player to watch, too.
But one of the things to note is few defensive backs make a seamless transition from the college ranks to the pros. NFL routes are much more complex, and the receivers are bigger, stronger and faster. There’s typically an adjustment period, and the Vikings are going to be relying heavily on two first-year players within the secondary.
It might not be a formula for high-profile success. At least not right away.