Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Vikings defensive coordinator says preparing for Redskins, RG3 'a headache'

Posted by: under Vikings Updated: October 11, 2012 - 1:10 PM

Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams admires the multi-dimensional talents of Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. But that appreciation quickly fades as Williams zeroes in on game-planning against the standout rookie, a task, he says, that’s as arduous as you might think.

“Always a headache,” Williams said. “Anyone who can run the football and pass the ball and have a good running game on top of that with the tailback, it’s a headache.”

After all, Griffin has been dangerous with his arm, completing an NFL-best 69.1 percent of his passes for 1161 yards and four touchdowns. He’s also run the ball 42 times for 241 yards and four scores. Washington has gotten creative with its playbook to utilize Griffin’s talents, mixing in doses of option offense that Williams concedes are “a nightmare for any coordinator.”

As for the last time Williams had to prepare against an offense with the option significantly incorporated?

“It was probably the Delaware Wing-T, Coach Tubby Raymond in the college days,” he said. “And it drove me crazy. So I’m glad the NFL isn’t filled with those kinds of offenses.”

Williams has shown his defensive players an endless queue of RG3 clips, going all the way back to the preseason to issue a reminder of just how dangerous the young quarterback has been on the move. He’s also pointed out the big hits that the Rams, Bengals and Falcons put on Griffin when he ran option plays.  

“They treated him like a running back and they tried to hit him every chance they got,” Williams said. “And that’s the only chance you have when you’re trying to defend a guy like that.”

Homecoming

Williams is excited about the trip to Washington. He grew up in Norfolk, Va., and played his college ball at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. Williams also coached at Williams & Mary for five years after college. So he’s anticipating a crowd of family and friends in attendance Sunday at FedEx Field. As for how many tickets he’s had to round up?

“Zero,” Williams said. “We tell the family that they’re on their own in terms of buying tickets. So we’ll see how much love they have for me.”

Puttin’ on the hits

Williams has been impressed with the physicality of his defense through the first five games with the big plays and the big hits adding up.

“We want to play physical football; it’s the nature of what we want to do,” Williams said. “When teams look at tape, we want to make sure that they know the Minnesota Vikings are a physical football team and that we’ll run to the ball and we will hustle.”

Perhaps the biggest blast delivered in last Sunday’s win over Tennessee came from rookie safety Harrison Smith, a shot on Titans receiver in the first quarter that was equally impressive for its power and the vision Smith showed to read the play early and build up a head of steam.

Said Williams: “See ball. Get ball. That’s what he did. Very nice play.”

Wright was stopped for a 3-yard gain on third-and-7.

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