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Matt Williamson Ranks Vikings Defense As Second-Best in NFL

One of the trademark characteristics of the 2015 Vikings was their strong defensive play.

Under the tutelage of Head Coach Mike Zimmer, Minnesota's defense ranked fourth in red zone scoring (44.19 percent) and fifth in points allowed per game (18.9).

With every starter on defense returning from last season's NFC North championship team, Matt Williamson of TheScore.com gave the Vikings high praise in a recent article.

Williamson gave his thoughts and ranked the NFL's best defenses, slotting the Vikings at No. 2.

Williamson wrote:

Mike Zimmer has created this up-and-coming defense in his image. It's loaded with exceptional young talent at every level. It could be the best in football.

Minnesota was last in the league in points allowed in 2013, the year before Zimmer was hired. The Vikings improved to 11th in 2014 before jumping up to fifth last season.

Burleson: Stefon Diggs ready to break out in 2016

Former Vikings wide receiver Nate Burleson recently wrote about the process that a wide receiver goes through entering his second season in the league.

Burleson then listed a handful of sophomore wide receivers who he thinks are ready to take their game to the next level.

Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs made Burleson's list, with the NFL.com analyst projecting that Diggs could top the 1,000-yard mark this season.

After not playing in the first three games of his rookie season, Diggs compiled six receptions for 87 yards in his NFL debut. And he proceeded to shock everybody by averaging 105 yards per game in his first four outings. Diggs established himself as a threat, and the offseason addition of Laquon Treadwell will only help him in Year 2. Teddy Bridgewater has been criticized for not taking chances down the field in his first two seasons as the Vikings quarterback -- logging less than 450 passing attempts in both 2014 and 2015. But with Diggs, Treadwell and tight end Kyle Rudolph in the aerial attack, I think there will be more opportunities for these pass catchers to make plays — with Diggs leading the way. I see him being around the 1,000-yard mark in 2016.

Diggs had 52 catches for 720 yards and four touchdowns in 13 games, nine of which were starts.

Alan Page Listed as Vikings Greatest Defensive Player by NFL.com

The Vikings have a long and rich history of defensive standouts, but according to Elliot Harrison of NFL.com, none were better than defensive tackle Alan Page.

Harrison named the best defensive player on each NFC team and went with Page for the Vikings.

Page was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988 and played 12 of his 16 seasons in purple.

The 15th overall pick out of Notre Dame in 1967, Page was a key element of the "Purple People Eaters" and helped the Vikings reach four Super Bowls in seven seasons.

Page was also the first defensive player to win NFL MVP honors, doing so in 1971.

Harrison wrote:

*Many Vikings to discuss ... John Randle was an interior rusher from the gates of small-college hell. Jim Marshall enjoyed a sterling 20-year NFL career, with all but one season coming in Minnesota. Page also edges out Kevin Williams, Chris Doleman and Matt Blair, largely due to his unique style of play. Page was an undersized DT, even in his day. But his football IQ, natural instincts and speed enabled him to win MVP of the league in 1971. Read that line again, babe. He was the first defensive player to ever do that, with only Lawrence Taylor matching the feat since. Not bad company, huh? *

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