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Coleman Sees Vikings Defense Getting Aggressive

Posted May 29, 2014

Count new safety Kurt Coleman as one who sees the Vikings defense being aggressive under new Head Coach Mike Zimmer and Defensive Coordinator George Edwards. Coleman’s perspective is most certainly a valid one, as he’s a veteran of four NFL seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

“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…

LB Jasper Brinkley: Originally a Vikings draft pick in 2009, he spent 2013 with the Cardinals but was re-signed by the team this offseason and figures to compete for a starting spot at middle linebacker.

CB Derek Cox: A third-round pick (73rd overall) by Jacksonville in 2009, Cox has started 53 of 63 career games and played in all 16 games for San Diego last year.

DT Tom Johnson: Since making his NFL debut in 2011 for the Saints, Johnson has appeared in 40 regular season games and four playoff contests with 86 tackles and 5.0 sacks in that time.

DT Linval Joseph: A 6-4, 323 space-eating and run-stuffing defender, Joseph has 46 starts in 53 games played and had a career-high in tackles last season for the NY Giants.

CB Captain Munnerlyn: A crafty veteran who can play outside or in the slot, Munnerlyn will give a new-look Vikings secondary a little extra pop as they prepare to face their pass-happy 2014 opponents.

DE Corey Wootton: Since entering the NFL in 2010 with the Chicago Bears, Wootton has recorded 54 tackles, 11.0 sacks and 13.0 TFLs in 45 appearances and had a career year in 2012.