I’d like to believe that I’m good at a lot of things. And as for the things I’m not good at, I would like to think that I work hard to become better at those things. I focus on the parts of a skill that are weak, and work on strengthening them. As for the parts of a skill that are strong, I focus less on them, and I hold on to them, merely fine tuning them. Minor tweaks.
To say Minnesota’s defense needed help would be an understated statement. Ranked 31st in YPG, they are the second worst defense in the NFL. Even with Jared Allen throwing in 11.5 sacks. To put this into perspective, we split the rush defense from the pass defense, the Vikings’ pass defense was ranked 31st out of 32. Their rush defense, which of course involves the front seven, was ranked 16th. A middle of the pack front seven is nothing to be sore about. A second to last ranked pass defense is something to be concerned about. Yet, the Vikings find it necessary to cut the second best tackler on the team. Erin Henderson.
The linebacker core, many would argue, was the best part of the defense, as a whole. Two of the top tacklers for the Vikings during the 2013 season were linebackers. Chad Greenway, with 83 solo tackes, and Erin Henderson with 69. Keep in mind, I am not taking anything away from Allen’s greatness in the trenches, but the front four was a pass rushing squad. The linebackers were the run stoppers, as well as the short pass route stoppers. Even big Kevin Williams only had 17 tackles. It was a pass rushing front four. The Vikings were tied for 13th in the NFL for sacks with 41. Nothing to be ashamed of. Where does the defensive problem lie? ANSWER: In the secondary. They ranked dead last allowing 37 touchdowns and second to last in yards allowed. Yet, Erin Henderson, the second highest tackler on the team was cut. Not traded, cut. Which now creates a problem in the one part of the defense that was actually effective.
Rumors are floating, and keep in mind that they’re rumors, that strong side linebacker Chad Greenway could be traded or cut as well. Rather than working on parts of the team that need the most help, such as the receiving core, quarterback, or the secondary, Minnesota opts to rip apart the defenders that made an impact on the team. And, with Allen most likely leaving the team to free agency, we can all agree that the front seven could potentially be nothing compared to what it was.
Let me also add that Henderson and Greenway led the Vikings, including any player in the secondary, in interceptions. (3 for Greenway and 2 for Henderson). The hit the Vikings would/will take by losing Henderson, and rumored Greenway will be a larger impact than any other move they could possibly make defensively, outside of Allen.
There has to be a plan in place. New defensive coordinator, George Edwards, former Miami Dolphins linebacker coach, must see something in Audie Cole that can fill the large void of Henderson. IF the rumors are true, and Greenway truly does leave Minnesota, I can say with confidence that Larry Dean will not supersede the talent and presence Greenway had on the field, which leaves Minnesota dangling in a very weak outside linebacker free agency, or, with yet another hole to fill in this year’s draft.
Erin Henderson is already gone. There are rumors surrounding the departure of Chad Greenway, though nothing is confirmed, and hopefully will be squashed sooner than later. Jared Allen has all but doffed the purple and gold. Kevin Williams may be leaving the front four. Of course the latter two are also unconfirmed until free agency picks up. No draft can cover the amount of issues Minnesota have both offensively and defensively. If all four of these players disappear from the great north, it leaves George Edwards and all of Minnesota pondering how they can make any sort of improvement in the 2014 season. Of course, only one of these players has been confirmed with a departure from Minnesota in Erin Henderson. Thoughts on these moves? Albeit different from mine, and their impact outside of a glass half empty, if that’s possible.
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