And the blitzes.
"It will depend on the game plans, but, yeah, I probably do call more blitzes" than predecessors Mike Tomlin and current Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier, said defensive coordinator Fred Pagac. "That's a part of what I do."
Pagac's signature game came as interim defensive coordinator at Philadelphia last Dec. 28.
The Eagles were in the hunt for a first-round bye in the playoffs. Quarterback Michael Vick still was an NFL MVP candidate. And the Vikings were out of the playoffs and stuck in a hotel an extra two days because of the weather-delayed game.
The final score was stunning and went a long way toward removing the interim tags for Frazier and Pagac. With Pagac throwing every blitz he could think of at Vick, the 14-point underdog Vikings won 24-14, bouncing back from a 40-14 loss to the Bears the week before.
Vick had three turnovers while being sacked six times and knocked down eight more. Cornerback Antoine Winfield was a relentless rusher off the edge, finishing with two sacks, a strip and a fumble return for a touchdown.
"That," Winfield said, "was a lot of fun."
The Vikings won't abandon a core philosophy that relies on their front four to rush the passer while the back seven plays a disciplined zone coverage. But Pagac -- the man they call "Pug" -- will be looking for reasons to blitz more, whether it's blitzes to disrupt an elite passer or zone blitzes to break the rhythm of a strong running game.
"You don't want to just blitz to blitz," said Pagac, a 34-year coaching veteran entering his 11th season in the NFL. "There's a reason for it. That depends on the game plan."
And, sometimes, the personality of the coordinator.
|New England||2/1/15 5:30 PM|
|LA Clippers||7:00 PM|
|Golden State||8:00 PM|
|St. Louis||6:00 PM|
|Oregon State||9:00 PM|
|Kent State||9:00 PM|
|Coll of Charleston||6:00 PM|
|(19) Princeton||6:00 PM|
|(9) Florida State||6:00 PM|
|Wichita State||7:00 PM|
|Missouri State||7:05 PM|
|(11) Arizona State||8:00 PM|
|Aug 8 - vs. Oakland||7 pm||X||10-6|
|Aug 16 - vs. Arizona||7:30 pm||X||30-28|
|Aug 23 - at Kansas City||7 pm||X||30-12|
|Aug 28 - at Tennessee||7 pm||X||19-3|
|2014 regular season|
|Sep 7 - at St. Louis||Noon||X||34-6|
|Sep 14 - vs. New England||Noon||X||30-7|
|Sep 21 - at New Orleans||Noon||X||20-9|
|Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta||3:25 pm||X||41-28|
|Oct 2 - at Green Bay||7:25 pm||X||42-10|
|Oct 12 - vs. Detroit||Noon||X||17-3|
|Oct 19 - at. Buffalo||Noon||X||17-16|
|Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay||Noon||X||19-13 ot|
|Nov 2 - vs. Washington||Noon||X||29-26|
|Nov 9 - Bye|
|Nov 16 - at Chicago||Noon||X||21-13|
|Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay||Noon||X||24-21|
|Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina||Noon||X||31-13|
|Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets||Noon||X||30-24 ot|
|Dec 14 - at Detroit||3:25 pm||X||16-14|
|Dec 21 - at Miami||Noon||X||37-35|
|Dec 28 - vs. Chicago||Noon||X||13-9|