New Vikes D-Coordinator Preaches Optimism
Posted May 10th 2007 7:03PM by JJ Cooper
Filed under: Vikings, NFC North
New defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will begin the 2007 season with largely the same cast of players as the one that finished the 2006 season. Defensive end Erasmus James may come back from knee injuries and safety Mike Doss may help the team's pass coverage, but this is pretty much the same team that finished 30th in pass defense last year.
So what's Frazier's diabolical plan to improve the pass defense? It would seem to be keeping things pretty similar to what Mike Tomlin did last year, with maybe just a little bit more blitzing.
"We'll sprinkle in some pressures, for sure," Frazier said. "After playing for Buddy Ryan and then working with (defensive coordinator) Jim Johnson in Philadelphia, that's something I believe in, and I do want to have that as a part of our package."
The big problem for the Vikings is that you need a solid pass rush from the defensive ends to successfully play a Cover 2 4-3, and the Vikings don't have anyone right now to point to as that consistent pass rusher. James could be that guy, but he has to prove he's back from multiple injuries. If not, then it's either rookie Brian Robinson or disappointing Kenechi Udeze who has to provide the push.
Udeze has six sacks in 35 career games. If Frazier is going to develop an improved pass defense this year, Udeze might be the key, but the 2004 first-rounder hasn't showed much yet. But Frazier's either a believer or he's just saying all the right things.
"There's some things that he and I have talked about this offseason and he's working on right now to improve his overall play," Frazier said. "His attitude has been great. I'm excited about what I think is going to be a bust-out year for him."