ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, who will be part of the broadcast team covering the Vikings season opener at the 49ers, recently told Vikings.com's Mike Wobschall he likes to don a coaching hat for television audiences.
Dilfer visited Winter Park to take notes during a practice, interview coaches and critique some film to prepare for joining Chris Berman and sideline reporter Lindsay Czarniak on the ESPN broadcast scheduled to begin at 9:20 p.m. (CT) Monday.
"I like what I'm doing a lot. It keeps me in the mix. I'm a football junky, always have been. It really came down to two things, coaching or doing TV. If I had boys, I probably would have been a coach because they could have been around the environment, the locker room, part of it with me, but I have three daughters, so I made the decision to stay in football but do it a different way.
"I try to take my coaching hat and apply it to TV to coach the audience," Dilfer continued. "It's a game I love and I think the more people understand about football, the more you fall in love with it. It's a lot more than acrobatic catches and running fast and being big and strong, and fantasy football points. This is the most complex game in the world, and the more people understand the complexity of it and different layers to it, the more they can appreciate it, and that's what I try to do on TV."
Dilfer's coaching hat extended to cyberspace and the Twitterverse Tuesday when he broke down film of the Vikings and 49ers with a series of tweets.
The full run are available in his timeline (@TDESPN), but here are a couple of highlights.
Dilfer looked beyond the stats surge that Teddy Bridgewater had to close his rookie campaign for reasons why Bridgewater completed 101 of 140 passes (72.1 percent) for 1,230 yards with eight touchdowns against five interceptions for a passer rating of 103.
The Vikings pass defense improved dramatically in its first year under Head Coach Mike Zimmer in 2014, but Dilfer thinks there's a subtle area that could help the defense take the next step.
As for scouting the 49ers, Dilfer wouldn't be surprised if San Francisco runs multiple crossing routes and tries to rack up the YAC (yards after catch).
On defense, he forecasted a possibility of young players getting an opportunity to get after opponents: