Health: One reason the Vikings had the No. 1 defense was because they kept healthy players on the field, something that has to be a priority this season, too. Last year starters missed just three games because of injury: one by Everson Griffen and two by Andrew Sendejo.


Slot corner play: In Year 3, it’s time Mackensie Alexander fully developed into the primary slot cornerback the Vikings need. Alexander got beat on what would’ve been the fateful fourth-and-10 conversion by Saints quarterback Drew Brees in the playoffs. Now he’s leading a slot position that could see rotation between him, rookie Mike Hughes and veteran Terence Newman.


Finishing pass rush: The Vikings ranked a mediocre 17th in sacks with 37 last regular season. Finishing pressure with sacks can make life easier, and potentially force more turnovers.

Third downs: Last year’s 25 percent conversion rate on third downs against the Vikings was the lowest by an NFL defense since the league began tracking the stat in 1991. Maintaining that will go a long way toward another NFC North title and more.

Andrew Krammer