View the best photos from the Vikings team photographers of the defensive line in 2019.
Earlier this week, we highlighted the way that Vikings Co-Defensive Coordinators Andre Patterson and Adam Zimmer are working together on goals for Minnesota's defense.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer also brought in longtime defensive coach Dom Capers, whose role will be shaped by however he can "contribute the most."
ESPN's Courtney Cronin delved into the Vikings plan to utilize a “collaborative effort” with their defense for the 2020 season.
She recalled the way Zimmer focused a year ago on the offense and brought in Gary Kubiak as an assistant head coach/offensive advisor to work with then-offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski and quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cronin wrote:
Zimmer's recent shake-up of the defensive staff feels somewhat similar.
Zimmer, who has called defensive plays since he took over the Vikings in 2014, now has two others in charge of his beloved defense and another with 25 years of experience as a head coach and coordinator (Capers) in the same room.
So how is this whole thing going to work? And most importantly, will these moves help restore a defense that declined in several key areas (19thin third downs, 15thin passing yards per game and 14thin total yards) last season?
Cronin pointed out that a collaboration with Kubiak and Stefanski worked in 2019, "transitioning the Vikings offense seamlessly" and that it's the type of working relationship that Minnesota's defensive coaches also will aim for. She quoted Adam Zimmer, who said the following during his media session:
"I think it's a collaborative effort. Dre and I are going to make this transition as smooth as possible. We'll work together on the game plans. I know Coach [Mike Zimmer] will be involved a lot in them. I think that the more we can collaborate and work together, the better it's going to be because we've all been through a lot of games in this league."
Cronin explained that although roles have shifted within the coaching staff, the Vikings "will run the same version of Zimmer's defensive scheme as they have since 2014," so maintaining continuity was important.
Patterson's relationship with Mike Zimmer goes back more than 30 years to their days coaching at Weber State in the late 1980s. Adam Zimmer, 36, has 14 seasons of NFL experience and began working with his father seven years ago in Cincinnati.
Those pre-existing relationships should play a large role in determining how this thing works out. Zimmer made two calculated moves with his co-defensive coordinators. He promoted two coaches with whom he has longstanding relationships to help him steer the ship. Continuity is important to Zimmer, and it wasn't the right time or situation to put someone from outside his coaching circle in either of those positions.
Casserly eyes 1 combine participant for each NFL team to watch
With the NFL Scouting Combine just around the corner, NFL Media analyst Charley Casserly rolled out a preview in which he highlighted one combine participant for each NFL team to watch.
For the Vikings, he spotlighted Southern Cal tackle Austin Jackson. Casserly wrote:
The offensive line must improve this offseason, specifically at tackle. Jackson is a top-five O-line prospect and could give the unit a boost.
Casserly also tabbed linemen for the Lions and Packers, but on the other side of the ball. He highlighted Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown for Detroit, saying the Lions "desperately need to improve their pass rush." He added:
Brown also has the skill set to boost Detroit's 21st-ranked run defense.
Casserly opined that Alabama defensive tackle Raekwon Davis could give Green Bay's run defense a boost with his "elite physical traits."
And lastly for the NFC North, he pointed to Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet for the Bears to keep an eye on.
The Bears biggest need on offense is tight end. There are several guys who would fit well in Matt Nagy's scheme, including Purdue's Brycen Hopkins, but why not aim for the best TE in his class in Kmet?