Jared Allen was one of several veterans that didn't play Friday, but he didn't like what he saw out of the defense. In particular, the run defense that gave up 260 yards to San Francisco has become an irritation for defenders this week.
had one of the best seats in the house last Friday as the San Francisco 49ers
ran up 260 yards on the Vikings defense. He watched from the sideline.
It was clear to say that he wasn't impressed with the performance his teammates put in. While it can be argued things might have been very different had veteran starters like Allen, Kevin Williams
and Antoine Winfield
played Friday, he said there wasn't a lot to like about the defense's run-stopping attempts.
"You don't like it when teams put up 250 yards rushing, whether it's a practice game or a real game," Allen said. "From that standpoint it's disappointing."
In what could best be described as a good news-bad news scenario, the biggest issue when the team watched film of the game was that most of the run problems were directly related to maintaining gap integrity. Translation: Players weren't where they were supposed to be and they got burned.
"It's simple stuff – run fits and making tackles," Allen said. "99 percent of all football comes down to technique and being where you're supposed to be. Then you just have just got to make the effort and make the play. That's what it is and it's all fixable stuff."
With Allen, Williams and Winfield all expected to see action against Buffalo Friday, the Vikings will try to erase the memory of what their defense did (and didn't do) in their first preseason game – and will look to make what happened against the 49ers seem like an anomaly and not a trend.
Defensive coordinator Alan Williams said that rookie cornerback Josh Robinson will play Friday against Buffalo and that there is a sense of excitement about getting the speedy rookie on the field to show what he can do in live action after impressing coaches during the offseason, prior to going down with a hamstring injury on the first day of training camp.
Williams is also a fan of rookie safety Harrison Smith. Asked about his toughness and willingness to "mix it up" with opponents, Williams said, "I love that. You want your safeties to be quarterbacks (of the defense) and smart, but you want some nastiness in them too – and he has that. Smith will start Friday against the Bills, something many believe will become a permanent condition with the Vikings defense.
Special teams coach Mike Priefer was asked Monday if he thought Olympic sprinting champion Usain Bolt could be a difference-making return man in the NFL. Priefer went old school in his response, pointing out that sprinter Renaldo Nehemiah was tried in the NFL for just the same reason, with less than stellar results. Apparently he hadn't heard of Todd Lowber, the Vikings' failed experiment of trying to get a non-football player with lightning speed to translate that to the field.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.