5 biggest takeaways from the Vikings during the 2021 NFL season

Justin Jefferson - Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Jefferson - Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minnesota Vikings
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 27: Anthony Barr #55 of the Minnesota Vikings follows the play during an NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at TCF Bank Stadium September 27, 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Tom Dahlin/Getty Images) /

Something is wrong with the defense

The Minnesota Vikings defense is a thing of mystery. They spent a ton of money on every level to have a distinct veteran presence. Guys like Patrick Peterson, Harrison Smith, Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Michael Pierce, and Dalvin Tomlinson all got healthy contracts to help this defense be great.

Sadly, that plan didn’t work. Even though Minnesota finished second in the NFL in sacks with 51 quarterback takedowns, they allowed 4,300 passing yards of offense to be piled up against them, which is the fifth-most in the league.

They trusted in Pierce and Tomlinson to close off the run, but their lack of availability and struggles were a factor in Minnesota giving up 2,222 yards on the ground, which is the sixth most among NFL teams. They also allowed 4.7 yards per carry, which tied for the third most.

To make things even more confusing, the Vikings intercepted 16 passes and recovered eight fumbles to account for 24 takeaways. Their +11 differential of takeaways to giveaways was the fifth-best in the league.

How can a team so good at taking the ball away and sacking quarterbacks give up 426 points and having their opponents run 1,152 plays against them, which is the second-most in the NFL? It must be the scheme or the talent available and the team must figure out which it is.