Over the last five seasons there’s been plenty of changes when it comes to the Minnesota Vikings. New headquarters, new quarterbacks, and new offensive coordinators. One thing that has remained constant among all the chaos, their defense.
“This is going into our sixth year, and we‘ve had a lot of shared experiences. So we can reach back and remember when something happened a while back and we can say okay remember when we were getting this concept, you need to adjust it. Remember when this fundamental kind of helped us or hurt us, we need to adjust how we’re doing it and tweak certain things. And it’s allowed us to really spend some time looking at different things that hopefully schematically can help us," said Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards.
When Mike Zimmer was named the Vikings Head Coach in 2014, he came with a defensive mind. After spending 14 seasons as a defensive coordinator in the NFL, he knew that his former colleague George Edwards shared his mindset of what a winning defense looks like.
"You know I have a vision of what this defense is supposed to look like, and I have very high standards for the defense. You know I expect them to live up to my expectations, so I’m going to keep pushing them until we get there, said Zimmer.
And it’s showing, over the last three seasons, Minnesota has finished in the top four in the league when it comes to yards allowed per game. They also allowed the fewest points against them in 2017.
“Been together for so long, it just helps out a lot. You know each other’s tendencies, you know what you’re going to do. So it’s things like that, when you understand a player and you know his tendencies, it tends to help out when they mean the most," said Vikings Cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
Entering 2019 Minnesota returns every single starter on defense, that continuity hopes to propel the Vikings to a stronger finish each day.
“The whole defense is back, we’ve got all the key pieces to the puzzle back. Now it’s time for us to take it to the next level by being detailed oriented. Really be technicians on playing our gaps, and getting the call in and just running to the ball and executing," said Vikings Defensive End Everson Griffen.
“I don’t think it’s a they mentality, I think it’s an us mentality. And us, we, together, want to get this thing in the right direction," said Vikings Safety Harrison Smith.
The Vikings open their preseason schedule this Friday in New Orleans.