Vikings defensive backs looked impressive in their first test of 2021

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) Harrison Smith
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) Harrison Smith /

The Minnesota Vikings defensive backs as a group were quite impressive in Week 1, but there is still room for improvement.

In Week 1 a lot of eyes were on the Minnesota Vikings defensive and especially how all the new additions would fit in together. The Vikings gave up 217 yards passing and two touchdowns in the air in Week 1. A bunch of these yards came at the end of the first half when Minnesota cornerback Bashaud Breeland was beaten by Cincinnati Bengals rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase for a 50-yard touchdown.

The Vikings limited Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow to 6.8 yards a pass and only gave up three big passing plays (over 25 yards). This was a significant improvement from last year where Minnesota was ranked 25th in pass defense and 29th in yards per catch. The Vikings’ pass defense kept Burrow and Cincinnati quiet for most of the game.

Although Breeland had a tough time against Chase, giving up a big touchdown and drawing a crucial pass interference penalty, he made a few impactful plays for Minnesota. Particularly a run stop on fourth down to give the Vikings great field position to go on and get a touchdown. Breeland will need to be a lot better in coverage, however, if Minnesota wants to go on a run this season.

Patrick Peterson and Xavier Woods perform well in Minnesota Vikings debuts

Vikings fans have come to expect high-level performances from safety Harrison Smith, goes without having to mention. Patrick Peterson was almost invisible in Week 1, and this is what every cornerback hopes for because it means the guy you are covering is not open.

Peterson gave up one catch for seven yards in a screen play-call and he looked very aggressive throughout the game. His leadership and experience will be key for Minnesota going forward.

Safety Xavier Woods also looked good for the Vikings in Week 1 and he appeared to have fit in seamlessly beside Smith. Woods was always around the ball and made a few crucial tackles and pass breakups. He looked very good and will be a massive player for the Vikings in weeks to come.

Considering three of the four starters in Minnesota’s secondary had never taken a regular-season snap for the Vikings before this game, things appear to be trending in the right direction.

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However, Breeland will need to do significantly better if he wants to remain a starter with Kris Boyd looking good in the snaps he played and impressing in the preseason.