Oh, have the mighty fallen in recent weeks. If you listen to the talk surrounding the Minnesota Vikings, this team may as well be finished for the season instead of being a 6-3 team and in first place of their division.
Granted, the Vikings have not played very well in recent weeks. Defensively, the team has struggled and the offense may not be as explosive as it was early in the season, but packing the bags isn't the game plan in Minnesota, not according to a high-ranking member of the Vikings' front office.
Significant time and effort has been spent in recent weeks evaluating the team and the play of specific areas of the team, mostly falling on the defensive side of the ball. The issues, which appear clear on game day have been the focal point of numerous discussions within the organization and a path to recovery is being put into play.
"Defensive coordinator George O'Leary has had these guys ready to play. For some reason there is some problems we as a team have not adjusted to well, and we are being exposed in ways we had covered in the early portion of the season," the team source said. "From simple responsibilities to blown coverage's in the passing game, we are not playing smart football, and teams in this league are too damn good to fiddle around as we have."
The overall play of the defensive backfield has come under fire in recent weeks, as the Vikings have not shown the ability to stop the opposition. Being thrown on, almost at will, the cornerbacks are receiving the brunt of criticism, although some of the issues on the defensive side of the ball are not the fault of the secondary.
"Look at this defense early in the season compared to now, and you will see we are playing the same type of defensive scheme, maybe more variations or looks, but the base is basically the same. The problem is we are not making plays and we are not nearly as opportunistic as we were early in the season," the team source continued. "Our cornerbacks are not playing as well as they did early in the season and we have been evaluating the play of everybody on this team, not just the cornerbacks. We'll be rotating guys in and out of the lineup more in the next week to see if we can help improve our efforts against the run and pass.
"We have to take a hard look at the play of our defensive linemen and linebackers as well. They all play a significant part in our success, and they have not played to nearly the caliber we expect. We have not played the run well, our linebackers have been slow in pursuit and E.J. Henderson will see more playing time down the stretch of the season."
The time has come for Minnesota to make some changes on the defensive side of the ball. An influx of speed and quickness should help the Vikings as they grow as a defensive team.
Team Evaluating Itself Hard
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