Through 11 games this season, no defense has seen the ball fly through the air as much as the Vikings. Yet even though opposing offenses appear all too willing to drop back and fire away on first, second and third downs, the Vikings are hardly racking up quarterback sacks at a parallel pace.
While the Vikings defense leads the league in passes against, they remain near the bottom third of the league in sacks. San Diego is the league leader with 41 sacks while Baltimore is second with 39. The Vikings, meanwhile, have mustered just 23 – 2.1 per game. This is especially disappointing when you consider opposing offenses are passing at an alarming rate and appear they couldn't care less whether the Vikings know it or not.
"We take a lot of pride in smashing the run," defensive lineman Darrion Scott said. "That's what we want to do and it's what we love doing. But the hard thing is coming back and seeing (teams max protect) and the quick passing and all that type of stuff. But our reputation stopping the run is definitely giving the offenses the heads-up and trying to do something else and keep us off balance."
The quick routes and the max protect schemes have prevented the Vikings from harassing the quarterback with any frequency. Kevin Williams leads the Vikings with 5 sacks, Scott has 3.5, Ray Edwards has 3, Jayme Mitchell 2, and Pat Williams 1. To put that into perspective, not a Viking is in the league's top 30. Julius Peppers of Carolina leads the NFL with 11 while Green Bay's Aaron Kampman has 10.
Naturally, defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin is not pleased with the team's pass rush.
"Absolutely not," Tomlin said. "I am not. But again, we're far from a finished product. We come here every day with the emphasis of getting better and we look forward to next Sunday and the opportunity to improve in that area."
Absent from any mention of sack totals is the Vikings' 2004 first-round pick, Kenechi Udeze. After registering five sacks as a rookie and missing 13 games because of injury last season, Udeze is still searching for his first sack as he enters Week 12 in Chicago.
"I've been pressing ever since Game 1 when I didn't get one," Udeze said. "But they're coming and I can't get hooked up on statistics. I have to play this game the way it was intended to be played and that's playing team ball, and that's the only thing I can do right now. I don't care if I don't get a sack the whole year, as long as we start winning."
The loss of Erasmus James didn't help. James suffered a season-ending injury in Week 2.
Sacks Still a Sore Spot
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