The current poll on vikings.com asks fans to vote for a defensive MVP (not including DE Jared Allen). Allen is excluded from the voting because including him would’ve likely resulted in lopsided numbers.
So, before you go to the home page to cast your vote, let’s take a look at the options and see each player’s credentials.
LB Chad Greenway: In his 4th NFL season, Greenway led the Vikings in tackles with 127 and stepped up his game when middle LB E.J. Henderson was lost for the season. Greenway is a 3-down LB because of his athleticism and versatility, meaning he’s on the field regardless of down and distance. An instinctive defender with a nose for the football, Greenway led all NFL LBs with 6 takeaways in 2009 – 3 INTs and 3 fumble recoveries.
CB Cedric Griffin: A physical and hard-hitting CB, Griffin tallied 71 tackles in 2009 and also added 2 forced fumbles. In addition to performing well on defense, Griffin also registered 4 special teams tackles and did a nice job holding the edge on the kickoff return unit. But the reason Griffin is a candidate for Defensive MVP is because he stepped up his game when fellow starting CB Antoine Winfield went down for 6 games. Griffin tallied a career-high 4 INTs in 2009 and was the leader of the secondary with Winfield out of the lineup.
LB E.J. Henderson: The defense still played with plenty of heart and soul when Henderson was lost for the season in Week 12, but there’s no denying Leslie Frazier’s unit suffered a big blow when the starting middle LB hurt his leg. Though he missed the last 4 games of the regular season (plus 2 playoff games), Henderson still finished 2nd on the team in tackles with 100 and he also tallied 5 passes defensed, 4 tackles for a loss, 2.0 sacks and 1 fumble recovery. Henderson either led or tied for the lead in tackles in 8 of the 12 games he played in this year. He is the quiet leader of the Vikings defense and was clearly missed when he was forced out of the lineup with an injury.
DT Kevin Williams: Perhaps the Vikings best defensive player, Williams had another solid campaign in 2009. He’s constantly double-teamed and remains a player opposing teams must game plan around every week. Not since John Randle have the Vikings had an interior defensive lineman with this much pass rushing ability, yet Williams is justifiably more known for his ability to stop the run. He tied for 1st among NFL DTs this season with 6.0 sacks and he also tallied 55 tackles, 6 passes defensed, 6 tackles for a loss, 1 FF, 1 FR and 36 QB hurries.
CB Antoine Winfield: Although he missed 6 games this season due to injury, Winfield is an option in the poll because it was clear the Vikings defense was missing a big piece when he was out of the lineup. Winfield finished with 58 tackles, 9 passes defensed, 2 tackles for a loss, 1.0 sack, 1 INT and 1 FF in just 10 games. In his return from injury in Week 14 against Cincinnati, Winfield made an immediate impact by recording 10 tackles (9 solo). In a sign of the respect he’s earned across the league, Winfield was named to the Pro Bowl even though he missed those 6 games.
Tags: Antoine Winfield, Cedric Griffin, Chad Greenway, E.J. Henderson, Kevin Williams
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 16 Comments »
Regardless of how it makes you feel, the New Orleans Saints victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV last Sunday brought closure. I see it as closure to the NFC Championship Game loss the Vikings endured to New Orleans, though, more than closure to the 2009 season.
With the Super Bowl finally in the rear view mirror, I feel we can now commence our look back at the 2009 season and how special it was. Doing so before the Super Bowl, however, would’ve simply caused us to redirect our conversation to the disappointing loss in New Orleans. Now, however, there’s no reason to focus our conversation on the NFC Championship Game. Instead, we can look back at the ‘09 season, point out the good things about it, figure out how to learn from the disappointing aspects it and then focus our attention on how the Vikings can improve for the 2010 season.
In the next couple of weeks before the NFL Scouting Combine, vikings.com and the vikings.com Blog will spend some time reviewing the 2009 season – from top plays to record breakers to Pro Bowlers to the success of the draft class to some of the unheralded stars that performed well in ‘09.
So be sure to keep coming back to vikings.com throughout the offseason because we’ll have something new for you every day.
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 29 Comments »