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.


Frazier: Missed tackles a concern

Posted by: under Vikings, Leslie Frazier, Vikings defense, Leslie Frazier Updated: November 12, 2009 - 12:38 PM

Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said missed tackles was the biggest issue he found when dissecting his unit's performance during bye week.

The Vikings are ranked No. 18 in total defense and No. 21 in pass defense at the halfway point of the season. Frazier said missed tackles greatly contributed to those numbers.

"We're really concerned about our first half of the season tackling," he said. "We had far too many missed tackles and it really led to some explosive plays that we want to cut down on going into the second half of the season. That's probably the No. 1 area that we want to improve on. If we can do that, we'll achieve a lot of our goals.

"We're doing some good things with our run defense and think it's headed in the right in the direction. But our pass defense has to improve, in particular being able to tackle after people make a five-yard checkdown. Limiting the yards after the catch is one thing we keep harping on."

Teams ovbviously don't tackle in practice during the season so Frazier said the coaching staff is harping on fundamentals and taking the proper angles.

"The thing we're emphasizing is just making sure that everybody is running to ball and not assuming somebody else is going to make the tackle," he said. "And then just taking the right angles to the football. We had some situations where we didn't take very good angles in the first half of the season and it led to some big plays. Just some fundamental things that you do in training camp and you don't want to forgot about during the season. It's something we have to get better at, which will improve our yards after catch."

Frazier said the majority of missed tackles were the result of guys not wrapping up the ball carrier.

"We've had guys who have thrown shoulders or dove at someone's legs and dropping their head," he said. "We just have to do a better job of wrapping up when we go to tackle and keeping our heads up and seeing what we hit. If we do that, we'll improve our tackling as a group."

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