EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Vikings have allowed the ball to be passed against them this season at an alarming rate.
This week they had to give up their best defensive back. Talk about a combustible combination.
The Vikings placed safety
''I was upset about that. I love playing with him,'' cornerback
Cook's career began in 2010, so his sample size is limited. But losing Smith, a first-round draft pick in 2012 who instantly became one of the biggest-impact players on the team, is another can't-make-this-up blow to a reeling secondary.
The Vikings have given up the fourth-most average yards passing per game in the league this year with 308, putting them on pace to break the franchise record of 4,225 yards surrendered in 2007. With 13 touchdowns given up in five games, they're last in the NFL with that rate and also on pace to set the franchise mark for futility with 41 scores thrown against them this season.
''No matter what the rankings, no matter how many plays, you still have to have confidence at corner,'' cornerback
Over the last 15 seasons, the Vikings have finished in the bottom quarter of the league in passing nine times in yards allowed and four times in touchdowns allowed for average rankings of 25th and 19th in those categories in that span.
Smith has two interceptions, the only ones this year by a Vikings defensive back. Cornerback
Though the Vikings must play on the road Monday they're at least facing a struggling quarterback in Eli Manning, whose 15 interceptions lead the league.
''It's very exciting. Hopefully he'll come in and throw us a few,'' said Cook, who has yet to record an interception in 26 NFL games.
This defense, though, has more problems than lax coverage or a lack of interceptions. Stopping the run used to be its calling card, and that's not happening anymore. Last week's 35-10 loss to Carolina was evidence.
''They could do whatever they wanted, and when you don't get your footing in one facet of the game, it's hard to stop either,'' linebacker
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