Defensive woes nearly cost the Minnesota Vikings a Week 6 win against the Carolina Panthers. The game went back and forth for four quarters, the defense carrying the team in the first half and nearly losing the game in the second half. Consistency is an issue with the Vikings defense and the team needs to fix it going in their Week 7 bye.
The Minnesota Vikings Defense is a Liability This Season
The problems today are the same problems the defense has been dealing with all season. The corner opposite Patrick Peterson, Bashaud Breeland is getting routinely beat. Fellow cornerbacks, Mackensie Alexander and Cameron Dantzler are very inconsistent as well. Peterson is having a resurgent season with the Vikings but he’s the only corner they can count on right now.
The safeties have been very average as well and that’s of note because potential Hall of Fame safety Harrison Smith is having a down season. Xavier Woods is an upgrade from the previous year but both he and Smith were unnoticeable most of the game today. Smith may be past his prime and is at the tail end of his fantastic career.
The Vikings Were Unable to Stop the Run
The Vikings haven’t been effective stopping the run this season and it continued today. They allowed 118 yards rushing to a Panthers team without Christian McCaffrey. Granted, that’s inflated by a 48 yard run by Sam Darnold but it’s yet another game where they allowed over 100 yards rushing.
Defensive tackle, Michael Pierce, was out this week but even with him, the Vikings weren’t effective stopping the run. Dalvin Tomlinson was brought in to bolster the run defense and has been disappointing in that role, and was hardly noticeable. One bright spot today is James Lynch the Vikings 2020 fourth-round pick. He has at times, showed, he can give the Vikings another capable body in the DT rotation.
The Vikings win in Spite of the Defense
The offense started slow but put up a respectable 34 points, while the defense surrendered 21 points. Watching the Vikings defense late in games is predictable. You can tell they’re going to give up the touchdown late and that came to fruition again with one courtesy of Sam Darnold.
Penalties were costly in the game, gifting the Panthers three first downs in the second half. On the other side, the Vikings defense benefited from a multitude of drops from Chuba Hubbard, DJ Moore, and Robby Anderson. If it weren’t for the drops, the Vikings defense likely, would’ve given up more points and lost the game.
Going into their bye week, the Vikings have to find ways to fix the run defense and be more consistent in coverage. They have an effective pass rush with Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen, and the defensive tackle rotation. Mike Zimmer needs to scheme better to improve the run defense while limiting big plays. This may just save his job and put the Vikings over the top and in the playoff picture.
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