Lurtsema's Reaction: Defense Does It

The encouraging part about the Vikings' effort at Green Bay was that Kailee Wong and the linebackers were playing well behind a defensive line that was stringing out plays the proper way. That defensive chemistry hasn't happened in a while for the Vikings.

It sure was fun to watch the Minnesota Vikings defense play so well in the greatest stadium in the NFL, Lambeau Field of Green Bay, Wis. With the temperature around 20 degrees, that is nearly perfect for most defensive and offensive linemen (as long as the sun is out).

Sunday was the first time in quite a few weeks where the linebackers and defensive line played off each other, which usually produces a more stifling defense. It's easy to spot when you see all the defensive linemen keeping their shoulders parallel to the line of scrimmage. As they move laterally as a group up and down the line of scrimmage, it gives the linebackers an opportunity to make a lot more tackles, as witnessed by Kailee Wong's great performance of 10 solo tackles, one assist and one quarterback sack.

The Vikings had seven personnel changes in the starting units, three on offense and four on defense. People were wondering all week what was going on, but it was actually something that should be done on a few occasions throughout the year. What Vikings coach Dennis Green was relaying was that nobody's job is secure. Yes, a few of those substitutions were because of injury, but, trust me, job complacency in the National Football League doesn't exist on championship teams.

A lot of the fans were criticizing Spergon Wynn's performance and how poorly he played, yet, in those conditions at Lambeau, Brett Favre threw for no touchdowns and a sub-par 169 yards. Meanwhile, the Vikings did roll up 199 yards rushing while their defense held Green Bay's Ahman Green to just 31 yards on 16 carries. Had the defense come out with this type of performance the majority of the time this season, next week's Monday Night Football game would determine who would be the final team qualifying for the playoffs in the NFC. But when the Vikings needed to make a strong defensive stand, when they were leading 13-10, it was the home-field Packers and Favre who made the plays when they absolutely had to have them in the crucial fourth quarter. This type of defensive inconsistency has just been too prevalent this season.

By the way, I got quite a kick out of the great block that Randy Moss threw on Byron Chamberlain's 47-yard touchdown reception. Say what you want, but it is fun to see positive things happening on the football field when a player puts forth a nice effort. VU

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