Embattled Vikings defensive coordinator Fred Pagac received an unsolicited vote of confidence from the team's best defensive player, lone Pro Bowl selection and current record holder for sacks in a season.
"I love coach Pagac to death," defensive end Jared Allen said Monday as players were cleaning out their Winter Park lockers a day after a 3-13 season. "I'm going to fight for him. I want him to be my D-coordinator next year."
Coach Leslie Frazier will address the status of Pagac and his other assistants at a season-ending news conference today. But the defensive numbers were staggering. In a bad way.
The Vikings ranked 31st in points allowed with 449, only 35 short of the team record of 484 set during the 3-13 season of 1984. The team also had a league-low eight interceptions, tying the franchise record for fewest interceptions (2000, 2001).
Asked if he though Pagac was vulnerable considering the season the Vikings' defense had, Allen said, "I don't know. That's not my job. I can just state my opinions to coach Frazier, like I do every year."Abdullah mulls future
Free safety Husain Abdullah is a 26-year-old heading into his first crack at unrestricted free agency. But instead of talking about testing the open market, Abdullah is considering stepping away from the game for good.
That's what four concussions in two seasons will do to a guy at a time when studies are linking concussions to long-term cognitive health problems.
"I have to find out a lot more about this stuff and see how it goes and make a decision from there," said Abdullah, who missed the final seven games of the season because of the effects of two concussions this season.Winfield no safety
Cornerback Antoine Winfield's longevity goal is simple: Finish out the final two years of his contract and walk away at age 36.
"That will get me to Year 15," Winfield said. "I expect to hang them up after that. Fifteen. That's it."
Winfield also said he won't switch to safety, as corners sometimes do in the twilight of their careers.
"Safety's not my position," Winfield said. "I like to be in the action at the corner."
Winfield played only five games this season because of injuries. Because the injuries (neck, clavicle) weren't to his legs, Winfield said there's no reason to believe he can't return to his top form.Not in favor
Like Allen, defensive tackle Kevin Williams wants no part of playing in a 3-4 scheme.
"Hopefully, I'm a defensive tackle in the three- technique for the rest of my career," Williams said when asked what his reaction would be if the team switched to a 3-4. "That's what I anticipate playing."
Williams then made an argument for keeping the 4-3 in place.
"Jared almost beat the [NFL] sack record," he said of Allen's team-record 22 sacks. "We can't forget that. What would Jared look like as a stand-up end?"Ponder sticking around
Quarterback Christian Ponder said he'll spend almost the entire offseason in the Twin Cities as he tries to improve on a disappointing rookie season that saw him throw as many interceptions as touchdown passes (13).
"I think I'm going to go back to Dallas as some point this month to see the family, and probably take a week-long vacation next month," Ponder said. "But other than that, I'll be here."
Ponder and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave will get the offseason together that they were denied a year ago because of the NFL lockout.Etc.
• Receiver Percy Harvin has been chosen as a Pro Bowl alternate.
• The Vikings signed seven players to reserve/future free-agent contracts, meaning they can participate in the team's organized activities. They are receivers Kerry Taylor and Kris Adams, guard Chris DeGeare, defensive back Reggie Jones, guard Butch Lewis, linebacker Tyrone McKenzie and tight end Allen Reisner.