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.

“And sometimes,” Robinson added, “you see all this as a cornerback and it’s like, ‘Really?’ I can’t believe the quarterback had that much confidence to make that throw, just expecting the receiver would be at that exact spot at that exact moment. But that’s just the nature of the beast in the NFL.”

 

Mark Craig • mcraig@startribune.com



 

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Tennessee 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Detroit 11/23/14 12:00 PM
New England
Green Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Jacksonville 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Cincinnati 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tampa Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Arizona 11/23/14 3:05 PM
Seattle
St. Louis 11/23/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Miami 11/23/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Washington 11/23/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
Dallas 11/23/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
NY Jets 11/24/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Baltimore 11/24/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 11/27/14 11:30 AM
Detroit
Philadelphia 11/27/14 3:30 PM
Dallas
Seattle 11/27/14 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Phoenix 6:00 PM
Indiana
Miami 6:00 PM
Orlando
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
New York
Toronto 6:30 PM
Cleveland
Dallas 7:00 PM
Houston
Sacramento 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Brooklyn 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Washington 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
New Orleans 8:00 PM
Utah
St. Louis 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Montreal 6:00 PM
Boston
Detroit 6:00 PM
Toronto
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Columbus 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Washington
Florida 7:00 PM
Nashville
Los Angeles 7:00 PM
Dallas
Carolina 8:00 PM
Colorado
New Jersey 9:00 PM
Calgary
Chicago 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Arizona 9:30 PM
San Jose
Incarnate Word 31 2nd Half
Princeton 27
Robert Morris 11:00 AM
Georgetown
Notre Dame 11:00 AM
Massachusetts
Saint Peters 11:30 AM
La Salle
Ball State 12:00 PM
IUPUI
Utah State 12:00 PM
Miss State
High Point 12:00 PM
Richmond
Appalachian St 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Drake 12:00 PM
Western Mich
Samford 1:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Colgate 1:00 PM
Campbell
North Carolina 1:00 PM
Davidson
North Florida 1:00 PM
Northern Iowa
UMass Lowell 1:00 PM
NJIT
Nebraska Omaha 1:30 PM
Marquette
Clemson 1:30 PM
Nevada
Florida State 1:30 PM
Providence
South Alabama 2:00 PM
Detroit
Texas State 2:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Trinity Christian 2:05 PM
Chicago State
Liberty 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western State 3:00 PM
Air Force
Elon 3:00 PM
Northwestern
Canisius 3:00 PM
St Bonaventure
MD-Eastern Shore 3:00 PM
St Francis-PA
Cleveland State 3:00 PM
Savannah State
SE Missouri St 3:00 PM
Central Arkansas
UMKC 3:30 PM
Ark-Little Rock
Southern U 3:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Longwood 3:30 PM
Youngstown St
Towson 4:00 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Loyola-Maryland 4:00 PM
Butler
San Jose St 4:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Texas Southern 4:00 PM
Norfolk State
Yale 4:00 PM
Southern Ill
LSU 4:00 PM
Weber State
South Dakota 4:00 PM
Wofford
Duquesne 4:00 PM
Abilene Christian
Wright State 4:30 PM
Char Southern
Miles 4:30 PM
Jacksonville St
Binghamton 4:30 PM
Manhattan
Alcorn State 4:30 PM
Kennesaw St
Bob Jones Univ 5:00 PM
Citadel
Piedmont Coll 5:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Johnson University 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Brown 5:00 PM
Indiana State
Colorado 5:00 PM
Wyoming
Quinnipiac 6:00 PM
Albany
Mount St Marys 6:00 PM
Bucknell
Master's College 6:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
UNC-Asheville 6:00 PM
East Tenn St
Clermont College 6:00 PM
Eastern Ky
UNC Greensboro 6:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Sam Houston St 6:00 PM
Fairfield
American Univ 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Army 6:00 PM
Marist
Hartford 6:00 PM
Niagara
Lafayette 6:00 PM
Penn
Nebraska 6:00 PM
Rhode Island
Vermont 6:00 PM
Saint Josephs
Eastern Wash 6:00 PM
SMU
UNLV 6:00 PM
Temple
Chattanooga 6:00 PM
Tenn Tech
UNC-Wilmington 6:00 PM
Va Military
Ohio Midwestern 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
UC Davis 6:30 PM
Furman
Ill-Chicago 6:30 PM
Kent State
Transylvania 6:30 PM
Lipscomb
Central Conn St 6:30 PM
Monmouth
Oakwood 7:00 PM
Alabama A&M
Morgan State 7:00 PM
Houston
Lamar 7:00 PM
Indiana
Northeastern 7:00 PM
Navy
William & Mary 7:00 PM
Rice
Missouri State 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
TX A&M-Kingsville 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Southern-New Orleans 7:00 PM
Tulane
SE Louisiana 7:00 PM
Western Ill
Belmont 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Hampton 7:00 PM
North Dakota St
UMBC 7:30 PM
Minnesota
Houston Baptist 7:30 PM
Texas-Arlington
St Thomas Aquinas 8:00 PM
Gonzaga
Utah Valley U 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
New Mexico St 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Stanford 8:30 PM
Duke
Morehead State 8:30 PM
Presbyterian
SIU Edwardsville 9:00 PM
Portland
Boise State 9:00 PM
Wisconsin
Valparaiso 11/23/14 8:30 AM
Maine
(12) Kansas State 26 FINAL
West Virginia 20
North Carolina 45 FINAL
(25) Duke 20
Arkansas State 27 FINAL
Texas State 45
Kent State 0 Cancelled
Buffalo 0
Texas-El Paso 13 FINAL
Rice 31
Air Force 14 FINAL
San Diego St 30
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Utah State 41
Char Southern 11:00 AM
(9) Georgia
South Alabama 11:00 AM
So Carolina
Rutgers 11:00 AM
(10) Michigan State
Minnesota 11:00 AM
(21) Nebraska
Northwestern 11:00 AM
Purdue
(18) Marshall 11:00 AM
UAB
Kansas 11:00 AM
(23) Oklahoma
Indiana 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Penn State 11:00 AM
Illinois
(14) Eastern Ky 11:00 AM
Florida
TX-San Antonio 11:00 AM
Western Ky
SMU 11:00 AM
UCF
Virginia Tech 11:30 AM
Wake Forest
Washington St 12:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Louisiana Tech 12:00 PM
Old Dominion
Western Mich 12:00 PM
Central Mich
New Mexico 12:30 PM
(22) Colorado State
Eastern Mich 1:00 PM
Ball State
Appalachian St 1:00 PM
Louisiana
Tulsa 2:00 PM
Houston
(15) Arizona 2:30 PM
(20) Utah
FIU 2:30 PM
North Texas
(8) Ole Miss 2:30 PM
Arkansas
Louisville 2:30 PM
Notre Dame
Maryland 2:30 PM
Michigan
Texas Tech 2:30 PM
Iowa State
(14) Wisconsin 2:30 PM
Iowa
Syracuse 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Boston College 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Georgia State 2:30 PM
Clemson
Tulane 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Stanford 3:00 PM
California
Western Carolina 3:00 PM
(2) Alabama
ULM 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
So Florida 3:00 PM
Memphis
Colorado 3:30 PM
(3) Oregon
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Samford 6:00 PM
(16) Auburn
Miami-Florida 6:00 PM
Virginia
Vanderbilt 6:30 PM
(4) Miss State
(19) Missouri 6:30 PM
Tennessee
Oklahoma State 6:30 PM
(6) Baylor
(24) USC 7:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Cincinnati 7:00 PM
Connecticut
Boise State 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9:30 PM
Washington
Fresno State 9:30 PM
Nevada
UNLV 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Ohio U 11/25/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(5) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
(21) Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(18) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(19) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(15) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(11) UCLA
(22) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
BYU 11/29/14 2:00 AM
California
(20) Utah 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Colorado
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Oregon State
Kentucky 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Louisville
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(24) USC
So Carolina 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Clemson
Florida 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(1) Florida State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(25) Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
Montreal 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/23/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
TBA 11/30/14 5:00 PM
TBA
Grand Canyon 11:00 AM
Austin Peay
Bowling Green 11:00 AM
Milwaukee
St Bonaventure 11:30 AM
Detroit
Illinois-Chicago 12:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
Louisiana Tech 12:00 PM
Louisiana
MD-Eastern Shore 12:00 PM
Marshall
Butler 12:00 PM
Fairfield
Central Conn St 1:00 PM
UMass Lowell
Bucknell 1:00 PM
Fairleigh Dickinson
St Marys-CA 1:00 PM
UC Davis
UNC-Asheville 1:00 PM
South Florida
Colgate 1:00 PM
Drexel
Niagara 1:00 PM
Buffalo
Vermont 1:00 PM
Boston U
Marist 1:00 PM
Northeastern
UNC-Wilmington 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Duquesne 1:00 PM
Green Bay
Saint Josephs 1:00 PM
Liberty
Army 1:00 PM
Manhattan
Eastern Michigan 1:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Southern Ill 1:00 PM
Wright State
Youngstown St 1:00 PM
Radford
Stetson 1:30 PM
Indiana State
Rockhurst 2:00 PM
UMKC
Ark-Little Rock 2:00 PM
Rice
(23) Syracuse 2:00 PM
Jacksonville
NC Central 2:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
New Orleans 2:00 PM
Jacksonville St
(22) Rutgers 2:00 PM
LSU
Missouri State 2:00 PM
(21) Oklahoma St
Eastern Washington 2:00 PM
SMU
Houston Baptist 2:00 PM
Texas State
TX-Arlington 2:05 PM
Wichita State
(9) Maryland 2:30 PM
George Washington
Presbyterian 2:30 PM
Western Carolina
St Francis-NY 3:00 PM
Rider
Central Arkansas 3:00 PM
Jackson State
Kennesaw St 3:00 PM
Georgia Southern
Loyola-Chicago 3:00 PM
Northern Ky
Howard 3:00 PM
La Salle
San Jose St 4:00 PM
Cal-Irvine
Tennessee St 4:00 PM
Lipscomb
San Francisco 4:00 PM
UC-Riverside
Temple 4:00 PM
Kansas
San Diego 4:00 PM
Idaho
Concordia (OR) 4:00 PM
(20) Oregon State
Corban 4:00 PM
Portland State
Charleston Southern 5:00 PM
Wofford
UT Martin 5:00 PM
Pepperdine
Eastern Kentucky 5:00 PM
Mercer
Weber State 5:00 PM
Utah Valley U
North Dakota 5:30 PM
Towson
Seton Hall 6:00 PM
Penn State
LSU-Shreveport 6:00 PM
Grambling
Brown 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Penn 6:00 PM
Navy
Xavier 6:00 PM
Binghamton
Georgetown 6:30 PM
Alabama
(13) Kentucky 7:00 PM
Central Michigan
Texas Southern 7:00 PM
TCU
South Dakota St 7:00 PM
(18) DePaul
Talladega 7:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Arkansas State 7:00 PM
Colorado
Alcorn State 7:00 PM
UAB
Tenn Tech 7:05 PM
Valparaiso
Dayton 7:30 PM
(19) Iowa
Nevada 8:30 PM
BYU
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 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
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 Gophers and Vikings do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close