Daly fuels fire under Vikings' defensive line

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 14, 2012 - 11:39 AM

Assistant Brendan Daly, back for a second stint with the Vikings, coaches with the same passion he demands.


Vikings defensive line coach Brendan Daly doesn't need much time to begin rattling off the coaches who have had a major influence on him. The list is long.

Ken Leonard? He was Daly's coach at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield, Ill., a local legend who had a knack for instilling a tireless work ethic in players.

Steve Spagnuolo? He was Daly's boss in St. Louis the past three seasons, a defensive guru who expanded Daly's understanding of schemes and ways to attack various pass protections.

And then there was Joe Hadachek, the offensive line coach at Drake during Daly's days playing tight end for the Bulldogs from 1993 to '96.

"Joe was a hard-nosed, tough guy. A high-energy guy," Daly said. "But he also had tremendous people skills. And he had this unique ability to make every guy in the group feel like their contributions were absolutely vital to the cause."

That concept always resonated. And now that Daly's back for a second stint with the Vikings, it might be as important as ever.

Yes, Daly has inherited an established line, a unit that recorded 40 1/2 of the team's NFL-best 50 sacks in 2011. And sure, Daly already has some success built in, again working with Jared Allen, the franchise's single-season sack king.

Plus, there's six-time Pro Bowl tackle Kevin Williams and ascending end Brian Robison.

But perhaps even more important to the Vikings' future, Daly was brought back last winter with coach Leslie Frazier hoping to squeeze the maximum potential out of a corps of promising yet still unproven players -- guys such as tackles Letroy Guion and Christian Ballard and end D'Aundre Reed.

"I've seen real flashes from those guys," Daly said. "It's been encouraging to see their attitude and sense of urgency."

Powering up

Guion might have the most riding on his shoulders. In March, as free agency opened, the Vikings gave him a somewhat surprising three-year contract that could be worth $9 million, confident he can be the long-term solution at nose tackle.

The coaching staff, thrilled with Guion's athleticism, asked him to use the offseason to trim down, a chore Daly said Guion quickly accepted and "hit out of the park."

Weighing close to 330 pounds in January, Guion is now down around 305, feeling more mobile and breathing better.

That, in turn, has elevated his confidence and drive.

"I think I've grown most with my work ethic," Guion said. "I understand I have to be high energy and high intensity so that as a D-line we can rough some people up."

Daly's role in sharpening Guion's focus should not go overlooked.

"I love B-Daly," Guion said. "He's always a big ball of energy out there. He gives us that extra push and that extra incentive to keep working. I can say, for the entire D-line, I think he's upped our work ethic. He keeps our motors running. Since the spring, that's the biggest thing he has brought."

Guion is not alone in his praise. Allen also commends Daly's liveliness -- which is saying something considering how tight the star defensive end was with Daly's predecessor, Karl Dunbar.

"Honestly, [Brendan] raises your enthusiasm level," Allen said. "He pushes you to that extent ... He's a big advocate of getting your work done and working at a high level. That's what you have to have. When your coach is enthusiastic, it's hard not to be enthusiastic."

Which comes first?

Daly's experience in Minnesota -- he was an assistant under Dunbar from 2006 to '08 -- has eased the transition. But both Allen and Frazier say the 36-year-old defensive line coach also has come a long way since that first stint.

Allen notes Daly's added confidence and the detailed manner in which he is polishing players' techniques. Frazier points to Daly's consistent fire and doesn't think it was purely coincidence that Rams defensive end Chris Long made a huge rise in his three years under Daly's tutelage.

A year ago, Frazier admits, he'd watch the Rams on film when the Vikings had a common opponent and come away impressed by how consistently hard St. Louis' defensive line played.

The belief is Daly's intelligence and enthusiasm will be the match that lights a similar fire with the Vikings.

In many ways, it's a bit of a chicken-and-egg setup.

At present, it's been Daly's passion that seems to have heightened the desire and investment of the D-line. Yet ...

"I love coaching. I love this game," Daly said. "And it's the best part of my day when I get to be around our players. That's what brings the energy out of me."

  • related content

  • Scoggins: Time for Vikings defense to dig in

    Monday August 13, 2012

    Stopping the run was one thing it could hang its hat on last season. But now?

  • Vikings end Griffen linebacker experiment

    Tuesday August 14, 2012

    Everson Griffen's days experimenting as a linebacker are finished. Coach Leslie Frazier acknowledged Monday that Griffen was headed back to the defensive line.

  • Photo gallery: Vikings camp: Monday, Aug. 13

    Monday August 13, 2012

    The Vikings were back in Mankato working out on Monday after losing 17-6 to the 49ers in San Francisco...

  • Vikings day at camp: Monday

    Tuesday August 14, 2012

    The Vikings' first-unit offense, which settled for two field goals Friday in San Francisco, came up empty again during a goal line drill Monday.

  • Brendan Daly


    Preseason Game 2: 7 p.m. Friday vs. Buffalo, Mall of America Field at Metrodome • TV: Ch. 11 (100.3-FM, 1130-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


NY Mets 6 Bottom 8th Inning
Miami 8
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 7 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 0
Boston 3 Bottom 10th Inning
Tampa Bay 3
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 6 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4
Pittsburgh 4 Bottom 7th Inning
St. Louis 4
Milwaukee 2 Bottom 7th Inning
Chicago Cubs 3
Detroit 2 Bottom 1st Inning
Cleveland 1
Seattle 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Oakland 4
San Francisco 2 Suspended
Colorado 2
Arizona 0 Bottom 1st Inning
San Diego 0
San Francisco - T. Hudson 4:40 PM
Colorado - F. Morales
Washington - G. Gonzalez 7:10 PM
Los Angeles - R. Hernandez
Texas - C. Lewis 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 30 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Toronto 12 FINAL
Hamilton 13
Edmonton 3:30 PM
Indiana 22 2nd Qtr 8:16
Chicago 18
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
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




question of the day

Poll: How many fantasy football teams do you draft?

Weekly Question