Vikings Territory Breakdown: Defense Befuddles the Offense

They say Kirk Cousins is a smart dude—just look at the contracts he has secured in Minnesota. Well, if reports we’re getting out of TCO Performance Center are valid, perhaps the Vikings need a refund. The Star Tribune’s NFL Insider Mark Craig has been at Vikings minicamp this week and so far he reports that Kirk is confused by Ed Donatell’s defensive scheme. (Please tell me Kellen Mond is picking it up . . . ).

Craig says the defense is ahead of the offense at this point, and the result has been a confused Cousins. Craig has seen several plays in 11 on 11 in which Kirk was throwing the ball away or holding on to it long after he would have been sacked. It’s early. No need to panic, Purple Nation. Maybe Kirk is still seeing Zimmer-disguised blitz ghosts and needs to clear his head.

And then maybe the defense is always ahead of the offense—particularly when the unit is learning a new offense—because a lot of the D’s job is to react and the offense needs time to get things tight. Or is it the other way around? Well, we’ll let Mark Craig, with his co-host Joe Oberle (who is as confused as Cousins), sort that out on the Vikings Territory Breakdown podcast.

There is news from Craig on the offensive line—particularly at the muddled right guard position. Craig will have some clarity for us. And QB 3 Kellen Mond was getting time with the second team during minicamp. Does that mean he is QB 2? Or does it mean Zimmer, I mean KOC, knows what he has in Sean Mannion? More intrigue to sort out—or to speculate on anyway.

Finally, we will take a deeper dive into the Donatell Defense. Are there any break-out performances? Will Lewis Cine make the scene as a starter? Are D and Za’D giving Kirk fits? The Vikings have had their last practice until Training Camp in late July (but there is an all-team cookout/picnic on the schedule that Kumbaya Craig is just geeked about), so stop by to get the latest until we get more. VT Breakdown podcast—check it out!

Segment 1: Donatell Defense

  • For what it’s worth, the defense is clearly ahead of the offense. Several plays in 11 on 11 in which Kirk was throwing the ball away or holding on to it long after he would have been sacked.
  • Kirk talks about Donatell’s defense and how it “muddies” his reads because defenders hold their disguises longer after the snap.
  • Corners looking pretty good, including a no-name Parry Nickerson, who had a red-zone interception of your guy Kellen Mond near the end of practice. the defenders went nuts and all ran to the other end zone.
  • Cine getting more work with the first unit. No secret he will start from day 1.
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