Hartman: New Vikings defensive coordinator has great coaching roots

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 16, 2012 - 11:00 PM

Alan Williams, who got his NFL shot from Tony Dungy, is in charge of turning around the Vikings defense.

hide

Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

After going 3-13 last year, Leslie Frazier and his assistant coaches are all on the spot to show that the Vikings can post a much better record in 2012.

There were several coaching changes from last season on defense. The Vikings hired defensive coordinator Alan Williams; moved defensive coordinator Fred Pagac to linebackers coach, where he shares duties with Mike Singletary; and fired defensive line coach Karl Dunbar, who is now with the Jets, and hired Brendan Daly as his replacement.

When moves like that are made, it means that maybe ownership wasn't satisfied with the job being done -- and certainly the head coach wasn't, either.

Last season the Vikings ranked 21st in the NFL in total defense, giving up 358.2 yards per game. Oddly enough, that was still second-best in the NFC North behind only the Bears (17th overall, 350.4 yards per game). The Lions were 23rd at 367.6 and the Packers were dead last in the league at 411.6 yards per game.

But despite holding opponents to fewer yards than some of their division rivals, the Vikings were 31st in the NFL in points allowed per game with 28.1, in front of only the Buccaneers' 30.9.

So both of the new defensive coaches are certainly on the spot, especially Williams, who was highly recommended by former Colts coach Tony Dungy, who knows Frazier well.

Williams worked for Dungy at both Tampa Bay and Indianapolis. Dungy believes Williams will turn the Vikings defense around from last year.

"I was coaching the Tampa Bay Bucs, and [former Vikings defensive coordinator] Mike Tomlin recommended him to me," Dungy recalled. "We were looking for a guy to come in and help with our secondary. He and Mike went to school together at William & Mary. Alan is very, very bright, hard working, energetic guy, very sharp. He coached our defensive backs all the way from 2001 to Indianapolis all the way through the Super Bowl years there.

"He's like Mike Tomlin in a lot of ways in terms of his football knowledge and his ability to communicate. Not as fiery, not as outgoing as Mike, but just very, very smart and sharp and a good communicator."

Tomlin, of course, left the Vikings to become the Super Bowl-winning coach of the Steelers.

As for Williams, Dungy said Frazier and Williams worked well together for two years in Indianapolis and played a big part in developing some star defensive players.

"Bob Sanders, Marlin Jackson, Kelvin Hayden were some young defensive backs that helped us go to the Super Bowl," Dungy said. "Alan really did a great job of developing. He's a good teacher. I think he's going to do great things [for the Vikings].

"When we got [to Indianapolis], we kind of revamped the secondary. We had some veteran guys -- Nick Harper was kind of our standout -- but every year, we drafted guys and by the time we got to the Super Bowl definitely Bob Sanders and Mike Doss were really young guys, Big Ten guys, Iowa and Ohio State, and Alan did a good job of developing them.

"[In 2005,] the year before we got to the Super Bowl, we drafted Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden No. 1 and No.  2, Marlin was at Michigan and Kelvin was from Illinois, so we had kind of an All-Big Ten secondary, and they were all young guys, and Alan did a great job of turning them into a Super Bowl-winning unit."

Dungy also pointed out that Williams was able to learn a lot of things from members of the Tampa Bay staff who went on to become head coaches, such as Tomlin, Herm Edwards, Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli, as well as from one of the great defensive coordinators in Monte Kiffin, now working for his son Lane at Southern California.

"We had quite a defensive crew as a matter of fact, so Alan learned from some really good ones," said Dungy, who has all the confidence in both Frazier's ability to becoming a winning NFL coach and in Williams' ability to turn the Vikings defense around.

New blackout policy

The Vikings' new ticket sales policy with regards to television broadcasts should mean that the team won't have another blackout in the Metrodome before moving to their new stadium.

The last time the Vikings were blacked out was in the 1997 home finale, but they have struggled several times in the past two years to make sure that their games were sold out and able to be televised in accordance to league rules.

But the NFL altered their blackout model this offseason so that teams could decide what percentage of tickets, from 85-100 percent, had to be sold in order for the local broadcasts to air. The Vikings have decided on a 90 percent sales base for broadcasting, which means some 6,000 fewer seats have to be sold than in years past in order for the game to be on TV.

Jottings

 Class AAA Rochester's Esmerling Vasquez, a 28-year-old pitcher the Twins selected off waivers from the Diamondbacks last year, has thrown 18 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, with eight hits, seven walks and 21 strikeouts. He had a seven-inning, 10-strikeout performance Wednesday. He spent the past three seasons in Arizona as a reliever, posting a 4.66 ERA over 137 innings. His last full season as a starter was 2007, when in 29 starts at Class AA Mobile he had a 2.99 ERA in 165 1/3 innings. He made 15 starts in 2008 but didn't start again until this year for Rochester.

• Twins lefthander Scott Diamond is 6-2 with a 2.58 ERA in 10 starts at Target Field this season. ... The Twins might have the worst record in the American League, but after Wednesday's game, they led the major leagues with 120 double plays.

• Former Gophers righthander and Colorado Rockies 11th-round draft pick T.J. Oakes left his start for Class A Tri-City at Eugene after recording only two outs Wednesday, reportedly because of an undisclosed injury. The first-team All-Big Ten selection and son of Gophers pitching coach Todd Oakes is 1-2 with a 4.40 ERA in 10 minor league starts. His father, who is ill with leukemia, is preparing to have a bone marrow transplant, hopefully later this month.

• Rochester Century product Mitch Brown earned his first professional victory Wednesday, pitching five no-hit innings with two walks and five strikeouts for the Indians' rookie Arizona League team in an 8-1 victory over the Royals. The second-round draft pick (No. 79 overall) in June is 1-0 with a 2.75 ERA in six starts, but Wednesday's game was the first in which he pitched at least five innings.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
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 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 NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
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: How will the Vikings do Thursday in Green Bay?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close