I came away from training camp and the preseason impressed with and excited about the Vikings 1st-team defense, specifically with the health and strength of the front 7. I think they are poised to have another dominant effort in 2010.
But coming away from Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Denver Broncos, I’m also impressed with what I saw from the reserves on defense, and again it was particularly the front 7 that caught my eye. On the night, the Vikings defense forced 4 fumbles, tallied 3 sacks and 7 tackles for a loss, held Denver to 2.7 yards per carry, held the Broncos scoreless on 3 of 5 trips in the red zone and they even had a goal line stand.
“Those guys have played that way all year long, all training camp long, and they’ve played consistently,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said after the game. “Whether you’re talking about Letroy Guion, or Jayme Mitchell, Fred Evans. Any of those guys. Brian Robison. They’ve all made plays at different times throughout training camp, and it’s (defensive line) probably one of the stronger positions on our football team right now.”
While the defensive line as a group played particularly well all preseason, it was a pair of LBs and a starting S that starred in Thursday night’s victory. Erin Henderson led the club with 9 tackles and also added a pair of fumble recoveries, one of which he returned 35 yards for a TD. Jasper Brinkley also impressed from the LB position, tallying 7 tackles (1 for a loss) and also forcing a fumble. And S Tyrell Johnson had a nice night, hauling in an INT off of Tim Tebow and also adding 6 tackles (1 for a loss).
Speaking of Tebow, the rookie QB flashed some positive signs for the Broncos. But he also endured some rough spots. Here is how Tebow’s 8 series ended: fumble, INT, fumble, fumble, goal line stand (turnover on downs), TD, TOD, TOD.
The most impressive part of the night for the Vikings defense began with Henderson’s fumble return for a TD and ended when the Vikings were able to register a rousing goal line stand following an INT off of Joe Webb that was returned to the Minnesota 6-yardline. From there, Denver ran 4 plays and never got into the endzone, with the 4th down play resulting in a 2-yard loss on a rushing attempt.
In fairness, I must point out that the Vikings gave up 27 first downs, 21 points and 437 net yards. But the victory, 4 turnovers and the 4th-down and goal line defense more than made up for the negatives and, more importantly, it should yield even more confidence in a Vikings defense that already looked quite formidable.
Tags: Erin Henderson, Jasper Brinkley, Tyrell Johnson
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 16 Comments »