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.
|Atlanta - LP: A. Wood||0||FINAL|
|Philadelphia - WP: A. Bastardo||1|
|Cleveland - LP: D. Salazar||5||FINAL|
|Detroit - WP: J. Verlander||7|
|Toronto - LP: R. Dickey||0||FINAL|
|Minnesota - WP: K. Gibson||7|
|Seattle - LP: J. Beimel||6||FINAL|
|Texas - WP: P. Figueroa||8|
|Los Angeles - WP: H. Ryu||2||FINAL|
|San Francisco - LP: M. Bumgarner||1|
|Colorado - WP: F. Morales||3||FINAL|
|San Diego - LP: I. Kennedy||1|
|St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright||8||FINAL|
|Washington - LP: T. Jordan||0|
|Milwaukee - LP: R. Wooten||2||FINAL|
|Pittsburgh - WP: E. Volquez||11|
|NY Yankees - WP: C. Sabathia||10||FINAL|
|Tampa Bay - LP: D. Price||2|
|Toronto - LP: S. Santos||5||FINAL|
|Minnesota - WP: C. Fien||9|
|Boston - WP: J. Lester||3||FINAL|
|Chicago WSox - LP: R. Belisario||1|
|Kansas City - WP: J. Shields||5||FINAL|
|Houston - LP: S. Feldman||1|
|Aug 9 - vs. Houston||7 pm||X||27-13|
|Aug 16 - at Buffalo||6 pm||X||20-16|
|Aug 25 - at San Francisco||7 pm||X||34-14|
|Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee||7 pm||X||24-23|
|2013 regular season|
|Sep 8 - at Detroit||Noon||X||34-24|
|Sep 15 - at Chicago||Noon||X||31-30|
|Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland||Noon||X||31-27|
|Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London)||Noon||X||34-27|
|Oct 6 - Bye|
|Oct 13 - vs. Carolina||Noon||X||35-10|
|Oct 21 - at. NY Giants||7:40 pm||X||23-7|
|Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay||7:30 pm||X||44-31|
|Nov 3 - at Dallas||Noon||X||27-23|
|Nov 7 - vs. Washington||7:25 pm||X||34-27|
|Nov 17 - at Seattle||3:25 pm||X||41-20|
|Nov. 24 - at Green Bay||Noon||26-26|
|Dec 1 - vs. Chicago||Noon||X||23-20|
|Dec 8 - at Baltimore||Noon||X||29-26|
|Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia||Noon||X||48-30|
|Dec 22 - at Cincinnati||Noon||X||42-14|
|Dec 29 - vs. Detroit||Noon||X||14-13|