The Minnesota Vikings used to be one of the best at stopping the run when the Williams Wall was leading the charge, but now with the final piece in Kevin Williams on the way out, it’s Mike Zimmer‘s time to build a stout run-stopping unit. In a recent interview with KFAN, the new Vikings head coach made it clear that he is looking to stop the run, and that new defensive tackle Linval Joseph will play a big role.
Zimmer said he received praise from numerous NFL personnel after signing the former New York Giant, and then stated Joseph’s strength is his greatest asset in both stopping the run and rushing the passer. His role as a power rusher will likely command double teams leading to increased success from another newly signed playmaker.
The re-signing of Everson Griffen was possibly the best move the Vikings made all offseason, and when asked about it, Zimmer noted he was always the team’s No. 1 defensive end target and that his underrated strength will help him flourish this season. Griffen is one of the most naturally gifted athletes in the NFL, and if Zimmer and the defensive coaches can work on making his hands more active, the five-year pro could emerge as a top 10 defensive end.
While the signing of Joseph was the biggest move the Vikings made towards improving against the run, Captain Munnerlyn — who signed a three-year, $11.25 million contract — is an undersized corner who is active against the run when playing in the slot. He also is an underrated pass rusher when in the nickel formation, making it likely Zimmer has grand plans for his newly signed defensive back.
The Vikings’ defense was one of the worst in the league last season, and although the NFL is becoming a passing league, Zimmer knows the importance of stopping the run. The secondary still needs some work, but if the improved front seven can stop the run like planned, the Vikings’ defense will be in much better shape than 2013.