PFF Thinks the Vikings’ Defense Sucks

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There’s really no other way to dress it up, justify it, or write it off. Pro Football Focus believes the Minnesota Vikings’ defense is flat-out not good.

PFF Thinks the Vikings’ Defense Sucks

Why? How? Well, the proof is in the pudding.

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PFF recently ranked sections of NFL teams’ defenses, with the regular season about nine weeks away. So far, it has ranked defensive lines and secondaries — and Minnesota’s placement was dismal, to put it kindly.

Here’s the skinny:

PFF Ranking,
Heading into 2024,
Vikings Defense:

Defensive Line = 2nd-Worst in NFL
Secondary = 6th-Worst in NFL

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Last year, the Vikings’ defense, led by coordinator Brian Flores, finished 11th in the NFL per DVOA, up 13 spots from a 24th ranking in 2022. In fact, the Flores’ defense was an odyssey last year, starting woefully, becoming incredibly hot, and faceplanting in the final four games.

These were the efficiency numbers:

Vikings Defense,
Per EPA/Play,
NFL Ranking,

Weeks 1-3 = 26th
Weeks 4-14 = 1st
Weeks 15-17 = 31st

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Then, during the offseason, Minnesota notably said goodbye to Danielle Hunter, Marcus Davenport, Jordan Hicks, and D.J. Wonnum while onboarding Jonathan Greenard, Andrew Van Ginkel, Blake Cashman, Shaquill Griffin, Dallas Turner, and Khyree Jackson, among others.

But that evidently didn’t signal improvement, according to PFF, evidenced by the horrid defensive line ranking and blah secondary assessment. On the second-worst defensive line, PFF’s Sam Monson explained, “The Vikings’ offseason free agency swap of Danielle Hunter for Jonathan Greenard was likely a downgrade, even if they got younger and cheaper in the process. Andrew Van Ginkel earned a 91.1 PFF overall grade last season, but that was a massive outlier in a career that has typically seen him post grades in the 60s and 70s.”

vikings starters
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And for the trashy secondary evaluation, John Kosko opined, “Defensive coordinator Brian Flores introduced an exotic defense in 2023, and it came with mixed results. Safety Camryn Bynum was the top-graded player in the secondary (73.2), while Harrison Smith’s 68.9 grade was the fourth-best on the team. Here, you get solid but not great players in the secondary, but no superstar players are taking this unit to higher levels.”

PFF hasn’t published team linebacker rankings yet, but even if Minnesota leads the NFL — it probably won’t — those would not be enough to salvage the 31st-ranked defensive trenches and 27th-ranked group of defensive backs.

So, per PFF, you heard it there first this summer: the Vikings’ defense isn’t any good.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His MIN obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by