New Vikings Coach Raves about Defender

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In the wake of the OTAs (organized team activities), the Vikings players stepped onto the field to prepare for the season, and some coaches talked to the media for the first time. One of them was new inside linebackers coach Mike Siravo, who took over for the departed coach Greg Manusky. The former NFL defensive coordinator took the LB coach job in Denver under their new head coach Sean Payton.

New Vikings Coach Raves about Defender

Siravo was recently the defensive run game coordinator for the Carolina Panthers. After spending two decades in various college programs in different positions, it was his first NFL gig. He followed former Panthers head coach Matt Rhule from Temple to Baylor and then to the pros.

From 1998 to 2000, Siravo was a graduate assistant for Boston College when Flores played linebacker for the same school. They have known each other since that time. He is an experienced linebackers coach, as he held the position in Columbia, Temple, Baylor, and with the Panthers for almost two decades.

New Vikings Coach Raves About Defender
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One of his new students is Brian Asamoah, a second-year player and a first-year starter. The young player is expected to replace Eric Kendricks in the starting lineup, who will meet the Vikings in the upcoming season as a member of the Los Angeles Chargers. Siravo is a big fan of Asamoah.

BA, man, what a gifted athlete. Brings unreal energy, just keep getting reps in the new scheme. He’s one of those chess pieces that, you’re going to see him all over the field. He could rush, he could drop, he can do a bunch of different things, he’s athletic enough to play man (coverage). Love his energy in the room every day. Still a young player who’s…you gotta learn how to be a pro in this league and he’s doing a great job of that, taking on a new defensive staff, and just running with it. He’s been awesome.

Mike Siravo, Vikings LB coach

It’s wonderful to hear a coach talking this way about a player, especially if that player is still unproven but is expected to play a significant role in the future. Asamoah came into the league as a third-round pick in Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s first draft. He was never expected to play a big role in his rookie campaign, barring injuries, as the team had Kendricks and veteran free agent addition Jordan Hicks in place. The latter will be Asamoah’s counterpart as the two inside linebackers.

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Despite the veteran presence, Asamoah found his way onto the field in his debut season for two reasons. First, the team wanted to rest the veterans to keep them fresh. Both had already celebrated their 30th birthday prior to the 2022 season starting.

The second reason had to do with Asamoah. He was simply good and deserved playing time. He played in 119 snaps, a number that would’ve been much higher had he been able to suit up for the meaningless game in Week 18 against the Bears, where all backups received significant time on the field. Regardless, he earned more playing time at the end of the season, and coaches regularly praised him.

Despite the limited snap count, Asamoah collected some promising statistical numbers as he recorded 17 tackles, a forced fumble, and a recovery. That play took place on Christmas Eve against the Giants when he ripped the ball out of tight end Daniel Bellinger’s hands. It was a true game-changing play.

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Asamoah brings two things to the table that his coaches like. Siravo mentioned them both. Athleticism and energy are two words everyone associates with the young linebacker. He is small for a linebacker but extremely explosive. That is something the 2022 defense lacked. He is fast enough to cover and to close on ball carriers to make the tackle. In addition to his aggressive energy, it should result in a lot of exciting tackles in the middle of the field.

There could be some growing pains early in his first season starting because of a lack of experience, but the future is bright for Asamoah. Everything besides him starting in the new defense would be a huge surprise, mainly because he fits the buzzword aggressive perfectly, a word that Flores and all other coaches commonly use to describe the defense. He might be the best-kept secret of the Minnesota Vikings.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt