Favre, Legendary Vikings DE Jim Marshall Meet

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 25, 2009 – 1:52 pm

Legendary Vikings DE and Purple People Eater Jim Marshall was at Winter Park on Friday to watch the Vikings practice and meet QB Brett Favre. Last week in Detroit, Favre started his 271st consecutive game and broke the NFL record for consecutive starts that was set by Marshall.

The Vikings will have their home opener on Sunday and Marshall will sound the Gjallarhorn as well as be an honorary Vikings team captain. He’ll join Vikings team captains at midfield for the pregame coin toss. Both Marshall and Favre will also be recognized for the consecutive starts record.

Still the record holder for consecutive games played (280), Marshall observed Favre and the Vikings from the sidelines as they practiced indoors due to the rainy weather.

“I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to break it,” Marshall said. “I have a lot of respect for the way Brett has played the game and still plays the game. He is good for football.”

Marshall compared Favre to Johnny Unitas in terms of leadership qualities and the ability to drive an offense down the field at crucial points in the game. Marshall also noted Favre’s work ethic, saying it reminded him of his own work ethic that was instilled in him by his father when he was a young boy.

“I would’ve been proud to play with Brett if he had been around back in the days when I played,” Marshall said. “He has my kind of work ethic.”

While he was watching practice, the entire Vikings defensive line, including defensive line coach Karl Dunbar, came over to him and shook his hand. It was a unique scene, watching Marshall converse with the Vikings defensive line and also watching players such as Jared Allen and Kevin and Pat Williams listen intently to every word Marshall said.

“The Vikings have the best defense in football,” Marshall later told me. “I’m just so proud of our defense, I really am. It reminds me of our playing days.”

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Vikings Seeing Plenty of the 3-4

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 25, 2009 – 7:40 am

The 3-4 defense was at one time a scheme used primarily by AFC teams, meaning teams in the NFC such as the Vikings wouldn’t see very much of it on a season-to-season basis.

But in recent seasons, more and more NFC teams are employing the 3-4 as their base defense. The NFC North’s own Green Bay Packers, after the addition of Dom Capers as defensive coordinator, are one example of a team that’s switched to the 3-4.

As a result of both the scheduling formula that pits the NFC North against the AFC North this year and the growth of the 3-4 in the NFC, the Vikings will see the 3-4 defense several times in 2009. Three of the Vikings 4 preseasons opponents – Kansas City, Houston and Dallas – have a 3-4 base defense and the Purple’s Week 1 opponent – Cleveland – also uses the 3-4.

And there’s more. As Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell pointed out during his Thursday press conference, 5 of the Vikings next 6 opponents play the 3-4. San Francisco will bring the 3-4 with them to the Metrodome this weekend. Then, the Vikings will face the scheme twice against Green Bay in Weeks 4 and 8. The Vikings will also face 2 more AFC versions of the 3-4 when they play Baltimore in Week 6 and Pittsburgh in Week 7.

“Each time we play it we’ll be more comfortable with it,” Bevell said. “So we will get them all in a row and be able to see that technique. Now, some of the 3-4 schemes can be different. They can play their techniques a little bit different, but just being able to identify it, to see how they play it, each and every week, I only think we’ll get better at it.”

With just 3 down linemen and 4 defenders standing up near the line of scrimmage prior to the snap, the 3-4 defense is a dynamic scheme that can utilize multiple looks and subsets of alignments to confuse the offense. Just as teams who use the 4-3 defense have different strategies within that particular alignment, teams using the 3-4 are not all the same, either.

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson noted a difference in the way Cleveland and San Francisco each run their versions of the 3-4.

“These guys (San Francisco) like to throw a lot of different looks out at you,” Peterson said. “Any 3-4 defense likes to confuse you. They get a lot of guys up standing up (and) rotating around. In Cleveland they did that a little bit, but not too much. Just watching these guys, you see them doing that a lot.”

Peterson agreed that having already seen the 3-4 defense several times in 2009 will help them against San Francisco and the other teams who run it, but he also indicated each team provides a different set of challenges.

“It will help because you got a feel for that defense, but still again, you got to make sure you focus on that opponent in the different formations that they have.”

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