Let’s Reid between the lines…
The Vikings defense flustered the Chicago Bears with their blitz and earned a rare Monday Night Football win. To keep winning, the Purple defense should employ the blitz more often.
The Vikings are fielding their weakest defensive line of recent memory. Everson Griffen is now a Detroit Lion, and Danielle Hunter is sidelined with a neck injury. Without these star players rushing the passer, Mike Zimmer is looking outside the defensive line to create pressure.
We’re seeing safety Harrison Smith charging into the backfield, Eric Kendricks storming through the A-gap, and even some corner blitzes. With versatile players like these, Zimmer and the coaching staff should use them even more.
When it comes to the young and unproven D-line, rotation is key. When you have eight defensive linemen active on gameday, you’d be smart to use them all. The coaching staff is following this logic so far, and it needs to continue throughout the playoff push.
Mike Zimmer really likes to rush the passer, and he is known for his famed double A-gap blitz. For non football minds, this is when two players (typically linebackers) try to rush past the center on both sides simultaneously. By overwhelming the center, the tactic creates instant quarterback panic.
Zimmer used this look frequently when he first came to Minnesota, but he has unleashed it less in recent years. I saw him “send the dogs” with great efficacy on Monday night, so he should trust the proven method more going forward.
The tradeoff of blitzing is having fewer men in pass coverage, but this hasn’t haunted the Vikings yet. Some of the most successful teams in the league are known for their persistent, exotic blitzes, so more is more in this scenario.
Rushing the quarterback won’t always put sacks on the stat sheet, but it creates an unstable pocket to throw from and a chain reaction of bad passes and picks. One pick can be the difference in winning a game — and one game can be the difference in making the playoffs.