5 biggest disappointments from the Vikings 2021 season

(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Michael Pierce and Dalvin Tomlinson /

The Vikings run defense

One of the biggest focuses of the Minnesota Vikings entering the 2021 season was to stop teams from running at will against their front seven. The team came into the season with a plan that looked solid and got some attention but didn’t amount to much.

The “Meaty Boys” are Michael Pierce and Dalvin Tomlinson. This duo of big defensive tackles was expected to clog the middle of the trenches and prevent running backs from shoving the ball right up the gut of the defense.

Those two players alone counted for over $17.7M against the salary cap in 2021 only for the Vikings to end up tied for third in yards per carry allowed (4.7), give up the seventh-most rushing yards (2,222), and sixth most first downs on the ground (131).

Injuries may have hurt their effectiveness and they did face some strong offensive lines, but if the Vikings want to be successful in stopping the run, they will need to do much better in the trenches starting in 2022.