The Vikings have had the league’s top-ranked rushing defense for the past 3 seasons, thanks in large part to a dominant defensive line and a trio of athletic LBs. But it takes more than a talented front 7 to adequately defend against the run.
Antoine Winfield has developed a reputation as one of the surest-tackling DBs in the league and as perhaps the NFL’s best CB against the run. The ability of CBs to play against the run is paramount in the Vikings defensive scheme and also the unprecedented success Minnesota’s defense has had against the run.
“Well, for us, that’s a premium,” Vikings assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said about CBs playing well in the run game. “You’ve got to be able to support the run in our defense in order for us to be effective as a defense.”
So important is it to the Vikings, according to Frazier, that the ability to play against the run is a major factor when the coaching and personnel staffs evaluate prospective players.
“If we don’t get that or we don’t see that in a corner when we are evaluating corners, whether it be for the draft or free agency, that knocks him down a notch in our eyes,” Frazier explained. “Although he may have great cover ability, he may have tremendous numbers from an interception standpoint; if he can’t tackle, that’s an issue for us.”
While meeting with reports Thursday at Winter Park, Frazier indicated he has no such issues with his tandem of staring CBs.
“We feel like we have the two best tackling corners in the National Football League in both Antoine and Cedric Griffin, bar-none,” Frazier said. “I’ve had coaches call me to tell me that they put on Antoine’s tape to show their corners how to be a complete corner, just to give you an idea of the respect that Antoine has throughout the league.
“And to me, Cedric is an outstanding tackling corner as well. He has improved on his coverage, and to me, we have the best two tackling corners in the league.”
Tags: Antoine Winfield, Cedric Griffin, Leslie Frazier
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