Three years in, and Mike Zimmer’s finally at the head of the NFL’s most dominant defense. It took some time and a few bumps along the road, but the Minnesota Vikings have a chance to go down as a historically great unit.
Outside of the loyal fan base, analysts and professional “football watchers” are taking notice, too; Matt Bowen of ESPN Insider had this to say about the new Purple People Eaters:
“This unit under [Head Coach] Mike Zimmer continues to create panic and turnovers. Through six games, the Vikings are holding opposing quarterbacks to a ridiculously low Total QBR (25.6), and Minnesota is tied with Seattle at the top of the NFL for points allowed per game (14.0). They have a dynamic mix of extremely smart coaching and versatile talent at all three levels of the field. That’s tough to plan against.”
Despite these strengths, the Vikings find themselves in a bit of a rut. In the team’s last three games, they’ve gone without a sack twice. Much of that starts with Minnesota’s opponents; offensive coordinators know the Vikings can generate pressure, and in turn adjust game plans accordingly. Quarterbacks are getting the football out quickly, receivers aren’t attacking the deep area of the field, and in general, offenses aren’t moving the football against the Vikings.
It’s a positive in that pressure, even without production, is fundamentally changing the way offenses try to attack Zimmer’s defense.