Minnesota has the best third-down defense
A lengthy book could be written with the title of “Since Mike Zimmer Arrived in Minnesota”.
Over the course of Zimmer’s six years as the team’s skipper, the Vikings have the NFL’s best defense on third downs.
Minnesota’s collective third-down conversion percentage while on defense is 35.2. This is the gold standard in the business and tops the Broncos (36 percent) and Patriots (36.2 percent) by a smidgen.
In fairness, the Vikings did regress in this parameter last season. Minnesota ended up as the league’s fifth-best defense last year in points allowed, but their defensive third-down conversion percentage dipped to 17th.
Why is this a cause for concern? Because in both 2017 and 2018, the Vikings ranked No. 1 in the metric. This is perhaps why the defense felt less-than-dominant last season compared to the usual supremacy fans have grown accustomed to.
An action plan was enacted, though. Minnesota parted ways with suspect corners Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes this offseason in favor of rookies, Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler.