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[NOTE FROM ADAM:  Please welcome reader “Carl K” for joining the ranks of many of you fine readers that have submitted guest posts over the years.  Well done, Carl K, well done!]

Written By Carl K

Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams has a little more swagger heading into his second season thanks to a successful first year and an off-season that landed him a few more playmakers. GM Rick Spielman made a splash by drafting DT Sharrif Floyd and CB Xavier Rhodes in the first round of the NFL draft. The Vikings also drafted linebackers Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti along with signing free agent linebacker Desmond Bishop.

Williams is eager to see his squad put on the pads and mix it up in training camp, but he was quick to give Xavier Rhodes some praise after a solid OTA mini camp. “He got his hands on some balls and he’s not giving up deep balls. That’s the big thing because a lot of guys like to sit on passes and you see them intercept balls and you say “wow” and then a lot of balls are going over his head. And he’s not giving up either. He’s tough down low and up top.”

Williams is a former defensive backs coach with the Indianapolis Colts and you can tell he is very excited about his two big physical corners Chris Cook and Xavier Rhodes. “Both guys are tall. They are long. They can go get the ball, unbelievable ball skills so to be able to have two guys outside and don’t forget about Josh, don’t forget about the other guys that can really run. They’re physical so you’re not limited to one type of defense. You can play a variety of things and when you can take the outside guys away it makes it easier for me to make the calls and mixing up the coverages.”

Alan Williams has plenty of talent, depth and options to work with when it comes to drawing up defensive schemes heading into the 2013 season. So, with just days before the start of training camp, I can only speculate and conjure up images of how Williams will use his new personnel. Last season the Vikings lined up in a nickel cover 2 zone most of the time. I expect to see more of that again this year against the pass happy NFC North teams . However, with two big corners on the outside that can press and Josh Robinson over the slot, we just might see more man coverage. If the Vikings can have success in man coverage from the base 4-3 or in a nickel, Williams could get creative with some hybrid formations or personnel groupings. Three linebackers, three corners and a single high safety could allow Desmond to do what he does best… play down hill and put some pressure on the QB. Gerald Hodges is former safety with good coverage instinct so I expect to see him get some playing time in passing situations. The Vikings cover 2 defense typically doesn’t showcase a lot of man coverage, blitz packages from the linebackers or hybrid formations, but this year Williams could show the NFC North quarterbacks a new wrinkle.

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Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

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  1. Interesting take. I agree we could see more different looks from this years defense. We have the personal to mix it up with both man and zone. The big question and what most likely will make or break this defense is how our Nickle CB (at the time being; Josh Robinson) will adjust to that position. He struggled at time last season and with this passing league we will be in nickle more time than our normal defense. – Unless GB suddenly think they can run the ball with their new additions at RB.
    Anyway great article Carl.

  2. I agree Malte… Josh Robinson’s play will certainly be a huge factor in determining if the Vikings can take another step forward in pass defense. Unfortunately for Josh he has big shoes to fill, and I believe he got most of his snaps at the outside cornerspot last season. So, this year he may have some on-the-fly development to do.

    Another year for Robinson to work under Winfield might have been dollars well spent?

    I think the 2 most important players that need to show some development this year will be Josh Robinson and Christian Ponder.

  3. Nicely written and interesting article Carl. I have high hopes for our two corners, especially Chris Cook. That dude should have a lot of incentive to make us forget about his past and the way to do that is go out there and make some plays.

    On paper, we got WAY better as far as players go. Now it’s up to our Defensive Coordinator to show he’s at least got an imagination.

  4. Carl,
    Well thought out article.
    Good job!
    Alan Williams isn’t the only one Excited 🙂

  5. Nice article, Carl. Informative, concise and to the point.

    Lord help us if Fran the Man ever contributes to VT. That would be more painful then gettin’ tribal tat’s to the soles of your feet.

    1. Geez, dagger to the heart Ole. You saying I can’t write? I’ll write this;
      Why on earth would anyone tattoo the soles of their feet? No one would be able to see them, including the tattoee.
      And you’re saying I can’t write?

  6. This post excites me! I think we’ll see a return of our dominant run D as well, if Floyd is even somewhat as advertised. Also hope we see a return of the take away happy defense we used to be accustomed to. SKOL