What we've learned about defense, special teams

  • Updated: August 5, 2012 - 11:06 PM

Staff writers Mark Craig and Dan Wiederer blog at Access Vikings on startribune.com. Here is Mark's latest report:

MANKATO - After the first full week of training camp this is what we've learned about defense and special teams:

Defensive line

What we've learned: The team, as usual the past few years, has some impressive depth. That includes some classic edge rushers such as D'Aundre Reed showing that they can also rush from the tackle position.

What needs to happen: Letroy Guion needs some preseason action to prove he can handle the move from under tackle to nose tackle at a relatively light 303 pounds. Can he make up for it with quickness? Said Jared Allen: "Letroy has feet like no other."

Linebackers

What we've learned: Griffen is wildly talented and can play multiple defensive positions as well as stand out on special teams. However, the switch to linebacker won't be successful after just a week or two of focusing on the position. He's flashed in camp, but he's also been inconsistent while running with the third team.

What needs to happen: Like Guion, middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley just needs some actual game experience to show that he's ready to assume former Viking E.J. Henderson's old position. For what it's worth, Brinkley has not shown signs of the injuries that have plagued him for most of the past year. He missed all of last season because of hip surgery and then missed a lot of OTA and minicamp time because of a combination of hip and groin issues.

Defensive backs

What we've learned: These aren't your 2011 Vikings. This outfit looks NFL-worthy and then some so far. Chris Carr has looked like a solid third corner, if not a capable No. 2 if the Vikings want to limit 35-year-old Antoine Winfield to nickel back.

What needs to happen: Defensive coordinator Alan Williams said the team is likely to keep either five or six corners. If veteran Zack Bowman makes the team as the fifth corner, as expected, the pressure mounts on the lower-tier guys such as Brandon Burton, Marcus Sherels and Reggie Jones.

Special teams

What we've learned: As advertised, rookie kicker Blair Walsh has a giant leg. He's been booming kickoffs out of the end zone.

What needs to happen: Walsh needs to face the pressure of a field goal attempt that means more than ending a training camp practice. So far, he's handled that minimal pressure well.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - WP: H. Ryu 5 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 2
San Francisco - WP: G. Kontos 7 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: C. Lee 4
Texas - WP: M. Mikolas 4 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Greene 2
Boston - WP: J. Lackey 14 FINAL
Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 1
Miami - WP: B. Morris 3 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: S. Simmons 1
Cincinnati - LP: M. Latos 2 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: W. Peralta 5
Cleveland - LP: B. Shaw 3 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: C. Fien 4
Kansas City - LP: J. Guthrie 1 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 3
Washington - WP: D. Fister 7 FINAL
Colorado - LP: F. Morales 2
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 4 FINAL
Arizona - LP: R. Delgado 3
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 4 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: M. Shoemaker 2
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 2 FINAL
Seattle - WP: R. Elias 5
Calgary 7/24/14 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Winnipeg 7/25/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 7/26/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 7/26/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close