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10 Numbers of Note: Vikings 2019 Defense

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings defense put up another solid season in 2019, ranking sixth in points allowed per game (18.9) and finishing 14th in yards allowed per game (341.6).

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's group stayed intact yet again, as nearly every starter has been with Minnesota for at least five consecutive years.

And while there is potential for major changes on the horizon — the Vikings will be looking for a new defensive coordinator — the 2019 Vikings continued to be one of the NFL's top units.

Here's a look at 10 numbers of note on the Vikings defense in 2019:

5 — The Vikings have now put together five consecutive seasons of finishing in the top nine in points allowed per game. Minnesota ranked sixth in 2019 (18.9 per game), ninth in 2018 (21.3), first in 2017 (15.8), sixth in 2016 (19.2) and fifth in 2015 (18.9). The Patriots are the only other team to accomplish that in the past five seasons.

14.5 — Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter has now recorded 14.5 sacks in back-to-back seasons. Hunter, the youngest player in NFL history to reach 50 career sacks, ranks third in the NFL with 29 sacks over the past two seasons. Aaron Donald ranks first with 33 sacks and Chandler Jones is second with 32 sacks.

9 — Vikings safeties Anthony Harris and Harrison Smith led all NFL safety tandems with nine interceptions. Harris tied for the league-lead with six picks, while Smith had three. The duo recently swept the safety spots on the PFWA All-NFC Team.

31 The Vikings ranked fourth in the NFL with 31 total takeaways in 2019. Minnesota had 17 interceptions and 14 fumble recoveries, and had at least one takeaway in 15 of 16 games. The Vikings recorded 15 takeaways in the final five games of the season, highlighted by seven forced turnovers against the Chargers in Week 15.

View photos of Vikings players during final interviews with the media at TCO Performance Center.

130 — Eric Kendricks recorded 130 tackles in 2019 (according to coaches' stats), marking the fifth straight season he has led the team in tackles. Kendricks, who was a First-Team All-Pro, also recorded 12 passes defensed, four tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 0.5 sacks.

43.75 — Minnesota ranked second in the league in red-zone defense, as the Vikings allowed touchdowns on just 43.75 percent of the times an opponent got inside the 20-yard line. The Vikings ranked third in that category in both 2017 (40 percent) and 2018 (44.90 percent).

8 — Everson Griffen recorded 8.0 sacks in 2019 and now ranks seventh in team history with 74.5 career sacks. The Vikings defensive end has now recorded at least 8.0 sacks six times in the eight seasons in which he has played at least 15 games.

47 — The Vikings allowed 47 pass plays that went for 20-plus yards this past season, the most the team has allowed since 2015. Minnesota allowed 43 such plays in 2018, 35 such passes in 2017 and 41 such plays in 2016. The Vikings allowed 47 passes of 20-plus yards in 2015.

48 — Minnesota tied for fifth in the league with 48 team sacks in 2019, extending a strong run of the Vikings getting to the opposing quarterback since Zimmer arrived in Minnesota in 2014. In the past six seasons, the Vikings rank third in the NFL with 260 team sacks, trailing only the Steelers (281) and the Panthers (269).

4.28 — The Vikings defense allowed 4.28 yards per carry in 2019, which ranked 19th in the league. That is Minnesota's highest rush average allowed since the 2014 season, when the Vikings were 24th in the NFL at 4.32 yards allowed per carry. The Vikings allowed just five rushes of 20-plus yards in 2019, which was the second-fewest in the league.

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