Vikings 2011: Defensive coordinator Fred Pagac

  • Updated: September 9, 2011 - 1:04 AM
The Vikings have essentially the same defense they have had since 2006. But there's definitely a more aggressive boss man calling the shots.

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.

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