The combination of Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph, Sharrif Floyd and Brian Robison wreaked havoc on opposing offenses last season.
Add in Danielle Hunter and Tom Johnson and the Vikings defensive line is certainly a unit that keeps offensive coordinators up at night.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com liked what he saw from Minnesota's big men last season and ranked them as the seventh-best defensive line in the league.
Mike Zimmer's group lacks a true superstar but the Vikings' line is deep and versatile. Griffen is one of the steadiest, most underrated pass rushers of the past five years. Joseph packed as much run-stuffing power per-snap last season as any NFL player. Floyd offers more pass rush skills from the interior line, while Hunter showed incredible potential last year for a third-round pick who entered the league as a 20-year-old. Look for Hunter to steal snaps from Robison, who has put up at least 900 snaps each year since Brad Childress was scowling up the Vikings' sideline.
This defensive line is Zimmer's Vikings squad in a nutshell, greater than the sum of its parts.
Griffen led the team with 10.5 sacks last season while Joseph turned in multiple dominant performances. Floyd and Robison were also key figures while Hunter was second on the team in sacks (6.0) as the youngest player in the NFL.
Zimmer ranked as top 15 coach by NFL.com
Mike Zimmer has just two seasons of head coaching experience under his belt, but those around the league have taken notice of his success.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com recently ranked all 32 head coaches and had Minnesota's head man at No. 13 on his list. Each of the dozen coaches ranked above Zimmer have more head coaching experience.
Harrison believes Zimmer has the Vikings on the right track to success.
Despite heading into just his third season as a head man, Zimmer is rapidly climbing this coaching mountain. Zimmer improved Minnesota's lot in 2014 from five to seven wins, in spite of the fact that his best player (Adrian Peterson) played just one game. Last year, with Peterson leading the league in rushing, Teddy Bridgewater taking the next step (with a few more to go) and the defense finishing fifth in points allowed, the Vikings won the NFC North. Zimmer's stamp is all over that Minnesota D, yet another reason he is closing in on the top 10 of big cheeses. Well, not the Green Bay kind. Zim beat those guys last season — at Lambeau — with the North crown on the line.
Zimmer went 18-14 during his first two years in charge, including an 11-5 mark last season as the Vikings won the NFC North.