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 before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Despite issues, Vikings stick to defensive plan

Posted by: Chris Miller under Vikings defense Updated: October 31, 2013 - 2:46 PM

Right before Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams stepped to the podium to talk to reporters Thursday, he chatted with defensive end Brian Robison and safety Jamarca Sanford. Williams said he didn’t single them out before he spoke to the media, but his message to them was one for the entire defense: stick to the plan.

“We’re still building the foundation to win football games and we want this to be the model of the NFL,” Williams said in his opening statement. “To be that, you have to build a firm foundation. You have to go through, sometimes, some growing pains, which we are right now. You don’t want it, but to build something solid, sometimes you have to go with that.”

Williams stressed the defense has to continue practicing hard and focusing on details despite the lack of results. In his second year as the defensive coordinator, Williams’ defensive hasn’t had the same success as it did last season. The Vikings are 30th in the NFL in total defense this season, allowing 401.6 yards a game. Last year they were 17th in total defense (350).

The issue has particularly been with the 29th ranked secondary. The Vikings give up 287.9 passing yards a game. Williams said the secondary shouldn’t work outside of the defensive structure.

”Sometimes when you’re maybe not getting interceptions or playing as well as you think you should, you’re thinking, ‘I need to do more. I need to go over here and make up for someone else,’” Williams said. “My message is, don’t do that. Be more detailed and if we tackle better, if we run to the ball more, if we execute assignments better, the results will be better. That’s one thing that we continue to reinforce."

The unit has seven interceptions this season but none in three October games. The last interception the Vikings had was against the Steelers in their only win this season on Sept. 22 in London.



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