Minnesota Vikings’ Suffocating Defense
If the Vikings are going to win consistently without Kirk Cousins as their quarterback, their defense will have to be very, very good.
We are talking 1985 Bears or 2000 Ravens good.
This has to be a defense that is absolutely suffocating and is extremely difficult to put points on the board against.
The Vikings have pieces in place that could make their defense great. They have Danielle Hunter at defensive end, Eric Kendricks at middle linebacker, and Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris at safety. Those are elite-level players but to get to the level they’d need to win without Cousins, some unheralded players would need to step up.
The biggest issue would be at cornerback. This group lacks experience with Mike Hughes and Holton Hill being the most battle-tested players. They would have to have Jeff Gladney, Cameron Dantzler and Kris Boyd step up in a major way. If these young players can play at a high level and lock down their man, and also make game-changing plays, the Vikings defense has a chance to be very good.
The Vikings would also need the new faces on the defensive line to step up. Ifeadi Odenigbo would need to improve off his breakout 2019 season. Michael Pierce would need to show the run-stopping ability he did in Baltimore, and the combination of James Lynch and Armon Watts would need to provide the interior pressure to throw off the timing of the offense.
If all of the elements of the Vikings defense play the way the coaching staff believes they can, this defense could be good enough to carry the team to a winning record and deep playoff run, even without Kirk Cousins at quarterback.