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Ron Rivera: Vikings’ defense keeps getting better

Sep 25, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera and Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer talk after the game. The Vikings defeated the Panthers 22-10 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings rank second in the NFL in both total yards and points this season. If they finish there, it will be the highest spot of Mike Zimmer’s tenure in Minnesota, improving on top-five defensive rankings from the previous two seasons.

As the Vikings get set to face the Carolina Panthers on the road, Ron Rivera – a defensive coach himself – said he’s impressed by the growth of Zimmer’s defense.

“I will say this: In the last couple of years, you’ve noticed that they’ve gotten progressively better,” Rivera said. “They’re very consistent. They are a very aggressive, attacking defense. But the hallmark will be if they win their division, win in the playoffs and get themselves to the Super Bowl, I think people will talk about them in the same breath as a the really great defenses.”

Rivera credited the Vikings’ talent on the defensive side with their continued improvement. Last year, Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph, Anthony Barr, Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith all went to the Pro Bowl and Danielle Hunter, who had 12.5 sacks last season, was left off the Pro Bowl roster.

“I love the personnel, I think they’ve done a really nice job, I think Rick Spielman’s done a great job with the personnel,” Rivera said. “I think what coach [Zimmer] has done in terms of developing it, getting to understand and have a feel for what they do.”

The Panthers’ head coach was particularly complimentary of the Vikings’ secondary, which sports the No. 1 safety in the NFL by Pro Football Focus rankings in Smith.

“It all starts, I think, with what the secondary does,” Rivera said. “They are up there, they are physical with receivers, they don’t give them clean releases, that gives the pass rush an opportunity to get going vertical.”

Carolina’s defense has also put up strong numbers, ranking sixth in yards per game, 10th in points allowed and fifth in sacks.

  • Gordon Guffey

    Yes they do keep getting better ~ However I look for a least one let down going forward be it the defense or the offense ~ They have got to find a way to get Diggs involved if he is capable or they need to start Wright cause what they have been getting from Diggs isn’t going to cut it come playoff time ~ Maybe start trying to focus on getting the ball to Treadwell at times throughout a game or two to see if he can step up ~ Floyd has been a wast of time and space IMHO ~ Maybe give the rookie a few chances ~

    What does what I said have to do what the defense ~ In about 4 weeks thing are going to get tougher for both units and if one unit is running with one broke leg in a a$$ kicking contest guess who might lose a playoff game ~ And I have no doubt Coller would do everything in his power to tell us all how starting Teddy would have been the right move ~ The pointing finger of Coller saying {{{ See I Told You So }}} topic would be everywhere ~ Truth be told either Diggs still isn’t 100% or he is coasting and I dont for one minute believe he is coasting ~

    Back to the defense ~ They are going to need all the help the offense can give them to be the better team ~ Get Diggs fixed or play Wright more and both units improve ~ A good offense will give the defense more rest while eating up the clock ~

    Keep Cam in the pocket will help a lot too ~

    • Mr.Ripper

      Not sure what you are talking about??? Keenum has sent the ball to every available receiver they have on every game. That has been one of the staples about this crew. I do agree that Diggs could be more involved but one thing I like about this offense is that there isn’t just 1 guy that everyone knows the ball is going to go to like Jordy Nelson. If anything, the Vikings need to improve on its takeaways. They need to be better at turning the ball around and Forbath and his place guy needs to get their crap together or it will end up like another 10-9 playoff screw up like we had against Seattle! Vikes are kicking some butt no doubt but we just gotta keep winning and keeping everyone healthy. SKOL!!

      • Gordon Guffey

        We can agree on a lot ~ What I’m saying is when Diggs is healthy he gets more balls thrown his way because he is open ~ Are teams keying in on Diggs ~ ? Maybe but I haven’t seen it ~ Keenum does throw the ball to who ever is open ~ However the fact remains that once Diggs get hurt he is not the same ~ Just look at last year when Diggs was healthy for about the first 3/4 of the season and then miss the 1000 yard mark despite being back for like the last 4 games ~ He has never played more than 13 games in a season ~ Never healthy {{{ injury reports }}} for over hald of the games he played in ~

        Maybe I’m just expecting to much and have looked at his injury history going back to his college days often when people have called out QB’s be it Teddy~Sam or Case ~ I believe Diggs is capable of much more ~ I have no doubt he does also ~

        That being said I should trust Pat Shurmur as much as I talk about him being a great OC and how much I hope the Vikings can keep him ~ So this is the last of my Diggs conversations ~ One would think he would know better ~ Smiley Face 🙂

  • Gordon Guffey

    Lunchbreak: Linval Joseph Receives Praise from Hall of Famer John Randle
    Lindsey Young
    Assistant Editor & Staff Writer

    http://www.vikings.com/news/lunch-break/article-1/Lunchbreak-Linval-Joseph-Receives-Praise-from-Hall-of-Famer-John-Randle/7324dcbf-b839-422d-ae54-5fc8f830c88b

    • Joetomic

      If you’re an actual person, why not just start your own blog or something.

      • Gordon Guffey

        First of all I am a real person ~ Is the Coller or Judd ~ ??? Sometimes I believe they are trolling me and others ~

        Who made you the patrol of this site ~ ??? LOL ~ And lastly I will post what I like when I like Thank You Very Much ~ Smile Face 🙂 Well until ESPN1500 kicks me off ~

        The reason I’m post links here is because I did it once long ago and a couple of people thanked me because they check on here while they are on their lunch-break and they dont have time to surf the internet ~

        Hey to all the other nutty Vikings fans like me ~ If you guys what me to stop sharing like just tell me ~ I promise I have tough skin and I want snow flake out on anyone ~

        • Joe Blow

          You never know. I’d read your blog if you made one. Expand your brand, brother!

          • Gordon Guffey

            Well than you Sir ~ But with my old tired back I never know when I might be on and when I wouldn’t be able too ~ But you never know ~

  • Natalie

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  • Gordon Guffey

    Everson Griffen on stopping Cam Newton: “You keep on hitting him”
    Posted by Darin Gantt on December 7, 2017, 9:26 AM EST
    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2017/12/07/everson-griffen-on-stopping-cam-newton-you-keep-on-hitting-him/

  • Sadie

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