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.
|Toronto||3||Top 9th Inning|
|Washington - G. Gonzalez||3:05 PM|
|Cincinnati - J. Cueto|
|St. Louis - S. Miller||3:05 PM|
|Chicago Cubs - J. Arrieta|
|Baltimore - B. Norris||3:10 PM|
|Seattle - C. Young|
|Arizona - J. Collmenter||6:05 PM|
|Philadelphia - C. Lee|
|NY Mets - J. Niese||6:10 PM|
|Milwaukee - W. Peralta|
|San Diego - O. Despaigne||6:10 PM|
|Atlanta - J. Teheran|
|Miami - T. Koehler||6:10 PM|
|Houston - J. Cosart|
|Boston - J. Lackey||6:10 PM|
|Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson|
|Chicago WSox - C. Sale||6:10 PM|
|Minnesota - L. Darnell|
|Cleveland - Z. McAllister||6:10 PM|
|Kansas City - J. Guthrie|
|Oakland - S. Gray||7:05 PM|
|Texas - N. Tepesch|
|Pittsburgh - J. Locke||7:10 PM|
|Colorado - T. Matzek|
|Los Angeles - C. Kershaw||8:05 PM|
|San Francisco - R. Vogelsong|
|Detroit - J. Verlander||8:05 PM|
|LA Angels - M. Shoemaker|
|Sporting Kansas City||6:00 PM|
|Winnipeg||7/31/14 6:00 PM|
|Toronto||8/1/14 6:00 PM|
|Brt Columbia||8/1/14 9:00 PM|
|Saskatchewan||8/2/14 6:00 PM|
|Los Angeles||3:00 PM|
|New York||9:00 PM|
|Aug 8 - vs. Oakland||7 pm|
|Aug 16 - vs. Arizona||7:30 pm|
|Aug 23 - at Kansas City||7 pm|
|Aug 28 - at Tennessee||7 pm|
|2014 regular season|
|Sep 7 - at St. Louis||Noon|
|Sep 14 - vs. New England||Noon|
|Sep 21 - at New Orleans||Noon|
|Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta||3:25 pm|
|Oct 2 - at Green Bay||7:25 pm|
|Oct 12 - vs. Detroit||Noon|
|Oct 19 - at. Buffalo||Noon|
|Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay||Noon|
|Nov 2 - vs. Washington||Noon|
|Nov 9 - Bye|
|Nov 16 - at Chicago||Noon|
|Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay||Noon|
|Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina||Noon|
|Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets||Noon|
|Dec 14 - at Detroit||Noon|
|Dec 21 - at Miami||Noon|
|Dec 28 - vs. Chicago||Noon|