A Few Notes On Vikings Defensive Line Heading Into Opener

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 9, 2011 – 3:25 pm

The Vikings will open the 2011 regular season against one of the best pass offenses in the NFL and they’ll have to do so without one of their best defensive linemen. Six-time Pro Bowl DT Kevin Williams, an anchor for the Vikings defense, will miss the first two games of the season because of suspension.

Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier met with reporters after Friday’s practice, the last full practice before the team heads to San Diego, and he confirmed that Letroy Guion will be the starter at that spot on Sunday. We’ve written about Guion previously here on the Blog, and Vikings fans should be anxious to see what #98 can do to help this defense.

But Guion won’t be alone in trying to fill the void created by Williams’ absence. A couple of other defensive linemen were brought into the conversation with Frazier on Friday…

– Rookie Christian Ballard, whom the Vikings selected in the 4th round in last April’s draft, has some position flexibility to him because started a lot of games at both DE and DT in college. He projects to be a versatile defensive lineman in the NFL, too, but right now Frazier said he’s asked Ballard and his coaches to have the rookie concentrate solely on playing what they term the “3 technique.” The 3 technique is a technical football term for the position that Williams plays.

– Another young defensive lineman, Everson Griffen, will be in the mix this season. Griffen is a DE but he has a touch of versatility to him as well. In fact, the Vikings experimented last week with playing Griffen at outside LB. But Frazier and the Vikings defensive coaching staff have the same strategy planned for Griffen that they do for Ballard – for now, concentrate on playing the primary position. For Griffen, that’ll be DE, where he’ll join the rotation with starters Jared Allen and Brian Robison and then reserves Adrian Awasom and D’Aundre Reed.

A couple of other quick notes from the conversation with Frazier…

– CB Asher Allen has been limited in practice all week and Frazier indicated there’s a good chance Allen will be listed as questionable on this week’s final injury report.

– Frazier was also asked about LT Charlie Johnson, who joined the club in training camp and has had to assimilate to the team quickly. As should’ve been expected, Johnson took his lumps early. He was learning a new offense, moved to a new city and was going against Jared Allen every day in practice. But now Johnson seems to be getting his feet under him and Frazier said on Friday that the team is growing more and more comfortable with Johnson at LT. Frazier also praised Johnson for his work ethic, study habits, preparation and overall professionalism. I know many fans are nervous about this part of the offensive line, and I understand the reasoning. But from what I’ve been able to glean after training camp, the preseason and this week of preparation for San Diego, I think the Vikings will be just fine at LT.

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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 43 Comments »

43 Responses to “A Few Notes On Vikings Defensive Line Heading Into Opener”

  1. By sandiamond on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Mike will the gameday chat for regular season continue this week? it’s a great way to follow the game when some fans are without actual viewing. thaxs

  2. By GMan on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Minnesota 27 – San Diego 23. Peterson will rush for 180 yards and 2 TD.

    Go Vikings!

  3. By Parody on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    I’m starting to wonder why the Vikings haven’t cut ties with Asher Allen yet. There must still be a young guy out there somewhere with more potential for the team than he has provided. The injury in the preseason, riding into the regular season should be enough to convince everyone that he is not worth a roster spot anymore.

    On the positive side, there’s no better way to get into shape than practicing/playing against one of the best guys out there every day. Jared Allen is as good of a test against left tackles as anyone else in the league, so I’m glad that Johnson is starting to look good facing up with Allen. He’ll be lining up against plenty of powerful DLines, but if he can hold his own with #69, then he ought be a good anchor for our blindside protection throughout the season.

  4. By I Justin F on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    I simed this game on Madden 11 today on All – Nadden difficulty between 2 AI and 5 min quarters.

    MIN 27
    SAN DIEGO 35

  5. By I Justin F on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    *All – Madden

  6. By NovaScotiaVike on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    That’s not bad………Vegas line is San Diego -8.5.

  7. By Parody on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    How many starters did we lose from the 2010-11 season? Favre, McKinnie, PWilliams, MWilliams, Leber and Edwards are all gone, as well as our FB. I’m sure that the Chargers have some new guys on their starting roster too, so the Madden 2011 results are already looking out of date. Not that I trust Madden predictions much, but to be anything close to realistic, the 2012 game should be the only one used.

  8. By CA Norwegian on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Tough sledding. Go Vikings!

  9. By David P on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    I used the 2012 game of Madden and the vikings lost 27-10. Allen and Cook were toasted all day. Thank goodness it was only Madden but Madden was on with those two. I cut both after the first game. God news though the QB was only sacked once.

  10. By David P on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    I hate the small window that my browser gives me to type in. Cannot se full post before posting.

  11. By Rocksalt on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    I hope our D will be up to the challenge………I am concerned about the numerous ??? in key positions on this team.

  12. By Kyle on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    As long as asher Allen doesn’t come onto the field, we’ll be ok!

  13. By Luke on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Madden predictions are moronic. You guys have to remember that most of San Diegos defense is new to the Team/NFL

  14. By Shawn on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    I am a bit worried about this game ….

    San Diegos strength attacks our weakness, and if we play nickel all day we got a good shot if Chris Cook does his job. I agree Asher Allen is a chump and should be our 6th CB. Sherels in the dime.

    A tough road game

  15. By Shawn on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Im predicting a 20-17 game either way …

  16. By moorevikes on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    To all Vike fans who were concerned about losing Sid Rice to the Seachickens, just read on that he is listed as doubtful for the season opener with a sore shoulder. Think back now, he had descent rookie season, injured most of his second, outstanding 3rd year, and then basically scre-wed the team last year. Now he’s Seattle’s problem. I wouldn’t even say his rookie season was descent.

  17. By VegasVike on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    His shoulder is probably sore from pulling his heavy wallet out of his back pocket…

  18. By NovaScotiaVike on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Or pulling his head out of his a..

  19. By Shawn on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    @moorevikes … LOL , I was just going to write the same story

    We dont have to deal with all the injuries for 8 million a year

  20. By Titus on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    That Green Bay game was the biggest waste of time this whole week– I am mad I spent the evening at the TV. Saints had opportunities. Payton was too confident, chewing his gum, taking his time– had to be bravado and go for it on fourth down, rather than take 3 and close the gap to 5– perhaps instilling their D to rise up. That was a blow to both sides of the Saints team and had they gone for it… There is where I agree with Madden– always take the points, 3 or 7–

  21. By Carlos Fullerton CA on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Everyone is talking about the packers and A rod and blah blah blah but why are they ignoring the fact that their defense gave up 34 points shouldve been 42! all this talk about dom capers and their 3-4 def, and matthews and woodson and williams and Raji. i say nay!!! last season opener we gave up 14 to the saints and last year was our worst since 06. I truly believe our run defense will be much improved hopefully back to our #1 years of allowing around 69 yds per game. Allen will bounce back and the double teams on him will open up plays for Robison and our LBs who I believe are underrated. If the new guys in the middle can clog the inside and allow Robison to get in and open up blitz lanes for the brothers and Greenway then we should rattle rivers and give our CBs and S time! Vikings will control tempo and win!

  22. By Titus on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Ah, Carlos, we agree– the Pack are vulnerable– they gave up 34, what should have been 37 or 42 points at HOME– we can beat them with AP.

  23. By Pauly Vikes on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    We will shock the bolts and the football world this weekend

  24. By Frederick Jones on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    @Pauly Vikes,

    …indeed the Vikings will beat SD IF Charlie Johnson can pass protect, and IF the Vikings DL get their hands up to pressure the QB.

  25. By Titus on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Vikings 34, Chargers 27.

  26. By Tom on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t know about the rest of the commenters here, Mike, but I am no more worried about the left tackle position this year than I have been the last 8 yeare with McKinnie here. In fact, I am more comfortable with Johnson getting in here late than still having McKinnie.

  27. By campfrazier on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    Vikings need to get some INT’s and force some fumbles, get the ball and get some points with it, and knock Rivers around. Brady, Manning, Brees, Rivers is the better QB of all these guys to me, scary actually. He really needs to eat turf or he will have an outstanding day. It would be great to see the young kid Ballard slam Rivers on his head. I can’t wait tfor this game.

  28. By Titus on Sep 9, 2011 | Reply

    I think the Vikings will cream them. And sweep the Packers.

  29. By Dave on Sep 10, 2011 | Reply

    @titus I totally agree with you. The saints looked god awful in the first half. Very sloppy. Brees had a couple great throws but his WR corps didnt show up. The saints D looks like it could be one of the worst in the nfl if they play like that every game…i dont know if you guys are with me here, but we can definitely do ALOT better against the packers both offense and defense.

  30. By sandiamond on Sep 10, 2011 | Reply

    Not even the 1st kickoff yet and people hounding Allen. Just give it a chance on the field because we are going to need all the DB’s including Sherels.Hopefully are linebackers can contribute in pass protection.No shut-down corner affects the whole D. Losing Brinkley was a blow but he did nothing in pass protection. The new pass happy NFL!

  31. By sandiamond on Sep 10, 2011 | Reply

    from facebook: Ann Carroll
    Good Morning Vikings Fans!! Be sure to tune in or DVR today’s Vikings Weekly!! Airing today at Noon on KARE-11 in the Twin Cities! Sunday it airs at 10am on FS North…either way hope Vikings Weekly helps you kick off week 1 for the Vikes!!
    210 ·LikeUnlike · · Share · 2 hours ago

  32. By Titus on Sep 10, 2011 | Reply

    One thing Chilly did that I do commend him for– he was secretive about his game plans and I think Frazier is adopting that approach, along with the best from all he has worked under/with. I have a strong feeling what we saw in preseason and what will be delivered on the field tomorrow will be two very different meals. The Vikings are going to appear as they really are tomorrow– an aggressive, unrelenting animal focused on killing its opponent.

  33. By Titus on Sep 10, 2011 | Reply

    In four weeks all the analysts will be talking about us– now they think we are losers, but wait.

  34. By Rogerthevikefan on Sep 10, 2011 | Reply

    Everson Griffin LB blitz package move him around and attack RT Clary he is the weakest member of their OLine. Make Rivers move into the rush from 69.

  35. By Rogerthevikefan on Sep 10, 2011 | Reply

    Rivers picking dirt out of his teeth equals a Vikings win.

  36. By NDVike on Sep 10, 2011 | Reply

    Tom, right on about McKinnie. I think Johnson will be just fine. I think our defense will be great and Adrian runs all over em’ for a 20-14 Vikes win!!!
    Go Vikes

  37. By Carl Brodin on Sep 10, 2011 | Reply


    I’m from Oshkosh,WI will i be able to stream the Vikes game on the computer?



  38. By Parody on Sep 10, 2011 | Reply

    Carl – Being the only mid-afternoon game that includes any NFC North team, I’d be surprised if your local channels won’t cover it. It looks like Fox has control of the broadcasting of all the mid-afternoon games though, but they’d be ignorant to hide this game from potential fans…

  39. By Arrow86 on Sep 10, 2011 | Reply

    Frazier has won me over. THe Vikes will be a lot better in all facets this season.

    Keep Coach Kill of the Gophers in your thoughts. He took on a huge challenge in building our Gophers up, and his seizure today was scary. He too, has shown he can build something special.

  40. By DuaneN on Sep 10, 2011 | Reply

    LOL David P, “I cut both after the first game.”

    Was wondering what the line was. Vikings offense getting no respect. This window closing talk is such bs.

    I can’t stand Rivers, just hate how he throws. Vikings win this game 3 out of 10 times, tomorrow is one of the 3.

  41. By anthony holzendorf on Sep 10, 2011 | Reply

    No matter how much talent we lost look at the transaction history and actually see how much more we gained I think the vikings are back and were gonna whoop some chargers ass~!!!!!!!

  42. By purplehunger on Sep 10, 2011 | Reply

    YES. Go Vikings!

  43. By vlad19 on Sep 11, 2011 | Reply

    So much for whipping Charger A$$…… All that happy talk about Charles Johnson, it makes me ill. He got USED today by anyone who he matched up with. They ran by him like he was a turnstile. He would be better at bullfighting. McKinnie was a lazy chunk of blubber, and Frazier did the right thing in kicking him out of camp — but motivated the guy kicked Steelers buts…. Johnson was used like TP.
    Cannot expect to throw with all of 2 seconds to set. Loadholt, Herrera, Hutch and “Sully” should all be embarrassed. Sully flat out sucks.

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