Vikings DBs pick their poison when facing elite quarterbacks

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 31, 2013 - 1:18 PM

– Every defensive back remembers his welcome-to-the-NFL moment, that split second when a professional defensive back receives tangible evidence that he’s no longer defending unpaid college kids.

“Brett Favre threw a no-look slant on me in practice my rookie year,” said Vikings cornerback Chris Cook, a second-round draft pick in 2010. “He looked this way and threw that way. No-look. And still completed it in stride. Never seen that one before.”

The Vikings secondary is about to get an eyeful of elite NFL quarterbacks. In fact, if the Vikings’ 2013 schedule were a weather report, Paul Douglas would be interrupting regularly scheduled programming to advise Chris Cook, Josh Robinson, Xavier Rhodes, Jamarca Sanford and Harrison Smith to spend the next four months hiding in their basements.

“I don’t want to leave anybody out,” said Smith, the starting safety. “We got Eli Manning, all the guys in the division, [Tony] Romo, RGIII, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson. Did I forget anybody?”

Only Joe Flacco, the reigning Super Bowl MVP. And Ben Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl champion.

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier put the kibosh on receiver Greg Jennings talking about the size of Aaron Rodgers’ ego. But he probably won’t mind his top five defensive backs talking about the size of Rodgers’ Hall of Fame-bound talent.

Three of those defensive backs — Cook, Smith and Sanford, the starting strong safety — said Rodgers was the greatest quarterback they have ever faced in their careers. One of them — Rhodes, a rookie from Florida State — picked former North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon because, well, he’s never had the opportunity to compare Glennon’s “great back-shoulder throws” to Rodgers’ unstoppable precise back-shoulder throws.

The other defensive back — Robinson, who should win the slot corner position in the oft-used nickel defense — labored over the question before punting.

“I’d say RGIII … no, wait,” said Robinson, a second-year pro. “Andrew Luck? I don’t know. Russell Wilson? Man, I have no idea. They’re all so good and so consistent.”

So what makes a guy like Rodgers so great?

“It’s their preparation,” Cook said. “And their confidence to trust their preparation. They make a decision and go with it. Bang, right now.”

Playing Rodgers twice a year doesn’t make it any easier.

“He knows the ins and outs of our defense,” Sanford said. “Sometimes, he knows what you’re going to do even before he snaps the ball. And he can run, too. You don’t think he’s fast until he gets going.”

“And that mobility keeps plays alive long enough for guys to get open,” Smith added. “That’s tough, especially if you don’t hold your [disguise] long enough because he not only had a great understanding of what he’s doing, he also has a leg up because he has a great understanding of what we’re doing.”

So what’s a defense to do when the other guy knows your next step, has good mobility and can knock an amoeba off a flea’s back at 40 paces?

“Sometimes, a guy like Rodgers and Favre, they can beat you even in your best coverage,” Sanford said. “But sometimes if you have a good disguise, they fool themselves. They see something that’s really not there. You got to give them something to look at that’s really not there to see.”

And you thought it was easy playing defensive back in the NFL.

“These guys will throw no-look slants, no-look fades, no-look comebacks,” Robinson said. “They just know where their receivers are going to be. They throw it and they just expect the receiver to be there. And the good teams with the great quarterbacks, the receiver is always there.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland - LP: T. Bauer 1 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: A. Swarzak 3
Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake 1 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: K. Lohse 5
Kansas City - WP: W. Davis 2 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: Z. Putnam 1
Washington - LP: S. Strasburg 4 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 6
NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: T. Walker 2
Detroit - WP: A. Sanchez 11 FINAL
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 5
Los Angeles - LP: D. Haren 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 6
San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 3 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: J. Papelbon 1
Texas - LP: Y. Darvish 1 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Phelps 2
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 4 FINAL
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 6
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: E. Santana 6
Tampa Bay - WP: A. Cobb 3 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn 0
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wada 3
Houston 2 Bottom 7th Inning
Oakland 8
Baltimore 2 Bottom 8th Inning
LA Angels 2
Chicago 1 2nd Half 6:00
San Jose 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
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 8/1/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Brt Columbia 8/1/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Connecticut 75 FINAL
Washington 89
New York 66 FINAL
Los Angeles 64
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