Minnesota Vikings veterans credit a simplified defensive scheme for their improved pass rush over the past two weeks, according to a report from Tom Pelissero for 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
After the Vikings' defensive line recorded only one of the team's four sacks through the first two games of the season, an overtime win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and loss to the Indianapolis Colts, defensive tackle Kevin Williams and defensive end Jared Allen spoke with defensive coordinator Alan Williams and line coach Brendan Daly about going back to what had worked for the line in recent seasons - just lining up and getting after the quarterback. Williams thanked the new defensive strategy:
"You know how sometimes, like a formation (will) come up, and they'll be like, we wanted to do so and so to this formation and this to that formation? Just let us go and work through it and play off of each other. That's the best thing we've got going for us up front."
In the last two games, the Vikings defensive line has recorded six of the team's eight sacks in wins against the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions, both 2011 playoff squads. The improved pass rush has had a calming effect on the Vikings secondary, which could pay dividends Sunday against the Tennessee Titans and backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who will get the start in place of Jake Locker, who's nursing an injured shoulder.
"It's huge for our players, for the coaches, to be able to generate that type of pressure without having to put the secondary under adverse situations," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said.