Count new safety
“Without giving away too much, we’re going to be an aggressive defense,” Coleman said. “Our d-line is going to get after people. We’re about getting after the QB…making him make mistakes.”
In recent seasons, the Vikings defense was predicated on applying pressure to the quarterback with four defensive linemen and dropping seven into coverage. This is an approach that yielded success many times over for the Vikings, as they ranked No. 1 against the run in three straight seasons (2006-08) and made three playoff appearances from 2008-12. But that may not be the approach the new-look Vikings defense takes, at least not as much.
“Our defense is predicated on the defensive (front) seven really controlling the line (or scrimmage) and establishing themselves. The back four, we’re going to be going after some balls,” Coleman explained. “We’ve got to create some turnovers, that’s something we have to be able to do. With what I’ve seen from what coach Zimmer has done with his defenses, this team is going to be an aggressive, hard style and we’re going to create some turnovers.”
Regardless of just how aggressive (in terms of numbers dedicated to rush and coverage) the Vikings are under Zimmer, the bottom line is production. In his most recent NFL stop as Cincinnati Bengals Defensive Coordinator, Zimmer had no trouble getting production out of his players. From 2008-13, Cincinnati ranked in the NFL’s top 10 in total defense four times, climbing to No. 3 in 2013. And since 2011, the Bengals ranked No. 2 in the NFL with 139 sacks (46.3 per season) and have allowed just 18.8 points per game, ranking No. 4 in the NFL in points allowed; the 2013 Bengals posted 20 interceptions, the fifth-best mark in the NFL.
New (Veteran) Faces
The Vikings dedicated seven of their 10 draft picks to defensive players this year. But they were also busy addressing the defense in free agency, as Coleman wasn’t the only veteran added to the defense this offseason. Here’s a look at a few more…