Vikings Run Defense Back To Form vs. Buffalo

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 19, 2012 – 7:34 am

A lot changes from year-to-year in the NFL. But one thing you’ve been able to count on year-in and year-out in recent seasons is a stout Vikings run defense. The Vikings ranked #1 against the run from 2006-08 and have finished outside of the Top 10 just once since 2006.

But you wouldn’t have known that from watching the Vikings preseason opener last week in San Francisco. Thanks in some part to a 78-yard TD run by QB Colin Kaepernick but mostly to poor execution by Vikings defenders, the Vikings allowed 260 rushing yards and 1 TD on 42 carries against the 49ers, including 198 yards and a score on 21 carries in the 1st half. For a team used to stopping the run with the best of them and for a defensive-minded head coach who’s part architect of the Vikings vaunted rushing defense and was also a member of the 1985 Chicago Bears defense, that was unacceptable.

And so after a week of corrections in training camp and a renewed focus to stop the run, the Vikings defense responded big-time this past Friday night against the Buffalo Bills. The Vikings were stingy versus the run, permitting Bills runners just 68 total yards on 20 carries (3.4 yards per carry), with just 27 yards on 8 carries in the 1st half.

“Well, we talked a bit about how we want to play run defense and we wanted to see some improvement in that area,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said after the game. “We know with the new faces that we have on defense that it’s going to take a little bit of time; it’s going to be a process. We wanted to see improvement and we did.”

It’s difficult to gauge exactly when the Vikings starters left the game based on the play-by-play, but suffice it to say it was the Vikings first-team defense that did the most damage to Buffalo’s running game. In its first two offensive series on Friday night, the Bills offense had runs of 3, 1, -2 and -8 yards. On the third series, Buffalo gained 25 yards, but then the Vikings allowed just 8 total yards on the next two series.

Stopping the run with that type of effectiveness is crucial to the Vikings defense. Much of the talk this past offseason surrounding the Vikings defense was about improving against the pass. That’s all well and fine, but if teams can run the ball against you, then it doesn’t matter how good you are against the pass. Frazier and Co. certainly realize that.

“We’ve built our defense on being able to stop the run and getting up to the quarterback with our pass rushes,” Frazier explained. “We don’t have a chance if people can be balanced. We have to be able to defend the run, and tonight we did a much better job of it. We will have to continue to work on it and continue to improve in that area, but that’s something we want to be good at.”

On Friday night, the Vikings were very good at it.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 18 Comments »

18 Responses to “Vikings Run Defense Back To Form vs. Buffalo”

  1. By Mike B. on Aug 19, 2012 | Reply


  2. By Mike B. on Aug 19, 2012 | Reply

    Just as seeing Webb play poorly in Game is not proof that he is bad. Niether is one game win going to prove the defense is any better. I noticed specifically in the Second Quarter lots of missed tackles by the secondary. That was a very critical issue last year and could be a this year also. I hope the coaches address that with the secondary players.

  3. By T.HARRIS on Aug 19, 2012 | Reply

    Put the AC UNIT out there now and i don’t mean air condition i mean Audie Cole this guy needs to be on the field now just like Kalil let him get his feet wet.He’s a playmaker on the defense The Audie Cole Unit.

  4. By Mike B. on Aug 19, 2012 | Reply

    At QB Ponder looked very in control of the situation and the team. He turned 3 drives into point making possibilities. (1 missed field goal). Webb did the things he can do well, but did look unsure at times. Sage looked very much the Veteran QB on the field and knew not to lose the game. I think the 2nd and 3rd QB positions is very much an open competition. I would say depending on the last 2 Preseason games that Webb, Sage, or the Rookie have a spot locked.

  5. By Mike B. on Aug 19, 2012 | Reply

    I see WR as a critical need to the team. Besides Harvin and Simpson the rest of the WR core don’t stand out. We don’t bring a deep threat WR to keep defenses back to the game. One of you said that the TE Rudolph will be that guy, but TEs need to provide blocks and don’t get that open down field threat like a Randy Moss has. We will continue to see more 8 men on the line to stop our runners until we get that guy.

  6. By Mike B. on Aug 19, 2012 | Reply

    T.Harris although a couple of really nice plays for the Rookie Cole against the second and thirds. The Bills in catch up mode. I am not sure Coles play was more about the situation in the game than his play. But give the guy credit they were great plays and he may have found a spot in the depth chart at LB. Some games become blow outs at the end do to the desperation of the other team.

  7. By Mike B. on Aug 19, 2012 | Reply

    I don’t feel that Jasper Brinkley has enough experience yet to determine he is the guy to replace EJ. That is why he was out the full first half. It may also mean that the Vikings are making a decision on bring EJ back or not. Brinkley’s spot is the person that controls the entire defense. The team needs the best player there to make sure things run smoothly. Brinkley wth his many injuries doesn’t have the experience yet.

  8. By T.HARRIS on Aug 19, 2012 | Reply

    I understand what your saying Mike B. but when a guy make two INT’s for touchdowns he’s probably pretty comfortable and confident at his position.Last year i saw Greenway missed a sure intercetion in his hand.I’ll take anybody better than that sh… i saw last year it eas sickning.

  9. By vikings209 on Aug 19, 2012 | Reply

    I think the main change we made was putting Allen and K Will in the game and cant forget Winfield either. Our run d just isn’t the same as it used to be a few years back with a younger K Will and ol’ Fat Pat but we still got enough there to be in the top 1/3 of the league in stopping the run and mark my words………..Kevin Williams is gonna have a probowl year. He finished strong at the end of last year and already showed signs of that same play this past friday. His tank is far from empty.

  10. By Richard1A on Aug 19, 2012 | Reply

    They must drink Purple Punch flavored cans of Whoop Ass and the run defense will be fine!

  11. By Frederick Jones on Aug 19, 2012 | Reply

    @Mike B.,

    You need to restring your guitar. Webb is a bargain as a 25 year old, and has a larger upside than the 29 year old Bethel-Thompson.

    (I think they said he was 29.)

  12. By Mr Prince on Aug 19, 2012 | Reply

    I think we should go for #85 so we can have that deep threat again?

  13. By Richard1A on Aug 19, 2012 | Reply

    He’s 24, what we seen of him was impressive for a rookie.

  14. By Jeff L on Aug 19, 2012 | Reply

    Bethel-Thompson is 24, not 29.

    I agree with the earlier comment that we should find a way to hang on to Bethel-Thompson in case Ponder doesn’t work out (although I hope it doesn’t come to that).

    Webb has looked very unimpressive with his throws. He’s obviously good at rushing, so why don’t we try him at running back? Give him the ball and let him run! It’s what he does best! Either that or we should see what we can trade him for.

  15. By mike d on Aug 20, 2012 | Reply

    in a division with the like of rodgers, cutler, stafford, jennings, marshall and johnson not to mention a throw happy league in general…a great run defense is not what it used to be if the vikings are going to have any success on the defensive side of the ball they had better play better in the secondary

  16. By joe on Aug 20, 2012 | Reply

    i felt that our pass defense still needs a whole lot of work. we let to many big plays occur. we got to do better. plus tackling must get better because we are horrible tacklers.

  17. By jman on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    i think our Pass-D did a good job. Their is always going to be a break down in the coverage when you have three rookies out there, but the takeway is–Robinson has a great upside, Smith will get his and Cook and Winfield will anchor the secondary. This team has a giant upside. Move Webb to receiver, put MBT as the third string QB and you have a very dynamic offense. Give up on T-Jack part 2 and lets put him in position to make big plays with his running. Screens, Slants, over the middle drag routes….Webb is a 4.4 guy at 220 and 6’4″. Ponder is showing he is making progress and I think we are very competitive in this conference. I am sick of everyone, to include our own Radio personalities already giving up on our team (6-10) really, Have AP sit all year…..just ridiculous.

  18. By Richard1A on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    Could be time to thnk of a new name for the D, with the Cole Allen connection!

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