Updated: August 4th, 2012 12:17pm
Vikings won't hold back tweaks on 'D' in preseason, Alan Williams says

Vikings won't hold back tweaks on 'D' in preseason, Alan Williams says

by Tom Pelissero
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MANKATO, Minn. -- Whatever changes the Minnesota Vikings plan to make to their defensive scheme will be on display on Friday night in San Francisco.

At least that's what new defensive coordinator Alan Williams said after Saturday's walkthrough when asked if he's going to be cautious about what the Vikings put on tape in the preseason.

"We're not," Williams said, smiling. "We're going to worry about ourselves and if we can execute our defense. We're not worried about what other guys are seeing and if we're trying to hide something from the first game or the second game or hold something back.

"We just want to make sure that we're fundamentally sound, technique sound and we're not trying to trick ourselves. We're going to just go out and do what we do and make sure that other teams can execute against what we do."

Both Williams and coach Leslie Frazier have referred to "tweaks" the Vikings are making to the Tampa-2 derivative scheme they've run for years. But Frazier recently downplayed those tweaks as "not wholesale," so it remains to be seen how significant they are.

Teams rarely game plan for exhibition openers, so the Vikings probably won't show much beyond their basic defenses and coverages against the 49ers anyway. More important will be evaluating how players execute what they're supposed to -- a major problem as things unraveled under since-demoted coordinator Fred Pagac last season.

Asked what he's learned about his players through five days of padded practices, Williams said, "They like to work. Having pads on for five days in a row is tough, and there hasn't been a drop-off whatsoever in how they're running to the ball.

"They fuss about it, but when the coach blows the whistle, they show up and we tell them that's the first rule is you have to show up and be ready to work, and they've done that. So, that's a good step in the right direction."

Williams has made no significant changes on the depth chart since camp opened. Most notable, first-round draft pick Harrison Smith continues to work with the second string behind incumbent starters Jamarca Sanford and Mistral Raymond.

That, among other things, could change after Friday's game.

"It's not just Harrison," Williams said. "It's everyone that we're waiting to see what guys do in a live situation, and then we'll look at the film, grade the film, evaluate guys and then move them around based on performance -- long-term performance, not just one or two days -- and then make decisions there."

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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