Pelissero: “What They Needed to Do Was Fix The Defense”
Tom Pelissero spent a fair amount of time covering our Vikings. He is now one of the main national NFL reporters, but his recent interview with Vikings.com’s Gabe Henderson allowed him to offer his insight on our Vikings.
Pelissero, very reasonably, indicated that Minnesota’s offseason priority was fixing the defense: “what they needed to do was fix the defense.” He suggested that the poor pass defense was a little more forgivable since there were so many young players in the secondary. It was unusual for a Mike Zimmer defense to struggle so much against the run, though.
Pelissero took a few moments to explain just how significant having Dalvin Tomlison and Michael Pierce on the field at the same time will be for the Vikings defense. He rightly notes that they’re both 1 techniques. From my perspective, I think the pair could be a good fit insofar as they’ll allow Minnesota’s defense to get into more predictable situations on second and third down. Shutting down the run on early downs will play into Zim’s overall strategy of essentially forcing to offense to pass on later downs.
In Pelissero’s opinion, Minnesota had their usual approach in free agency. The only real difference was their willingness to use void years. Henderson then pointed out that there are 31 players either on a one-year deal or in the final year of their contract. Expect some extensions, but there’s going to be a lot of roster turnover after the season.
On offense, there is some reason for intrigue and optimism. Lil’Kub is expected, at least according to Pelissero, to offer “new twists” to the principles that Gary Kubiak applied with the Vikings. There was also some discussion of whether the offensive line can improve and how the team will perform in critical situations like their two-minute offense. Indeed, there are several questions for Lil’Kub, so it’s going to be fascinating to see if he’s able to take the offense to the next level. If we are going to make a playoff run, we need to the offense to be stellar.
The final question focused on whether Minnesota can win the division. Pelissero rightly suggests that Minnesota certainty believes they can compete. There’s a lot that needs to go right, but the pieces are there. As every one of our NFC North interviews suggested (Lions, Bears, and Packers), so much depends on Aaron “Voldemort” Rodgers.
My opinion is that Rodgers will return to the Pack, but that Minnesota is still well-positioned to compete for the division. They shouldn’t be considered the favorite, but my expectation is that they’re a playoff team with a chance to make a run in the NFC.
Personally, I’m always interested when Tom Pelissero is talking Vikings. He knows far more about the team than most national reporters, so I appreciate his perspective. Head over to Vikings.com to listen to the full interview.