It’s time for Mini Dave’s Deep Dive, this one is over the Vikings secondary. As Ted, Drew and myself discussed it on the Good Morning Gjallarhorn, and many of us have discussed here, it has been an issue this season, especially at the corner position. Mike Zimmer has been playing the safeties back more than usual to cover for the outside cornerback deficiencies. Xavier Rhodes has obviously not been Rhodes Closed from two years ago and Trae Waynes still can’t locate the ball at the top of a route. As for Xavier no longer being able to shut down a receiver, that is the biggest hit to this once elite defense. It may be that he is over thinking, getting old and slow, getting thicker, or has had all those injuries catch up to him, but he is absolutely allowing opposing QB’s to light him up. The Rhodes have been wide open, so how do the Vikings fix it moving forward?
I dove into the PFF player grades for the secondary and that is what you see in the chart. Same simple concepts that blue or green are good and red is bad. I have the headers set up by total snaps, coverage snaps, total defensive grade, run defense grade, tackling grade, coverage grade, reception allowed %, interceptions, pass break ups, passer rating allowed [the league average QB throws a 88.4], and penalties. As when Ted and Drew said things start to snowball, it is time to bench a player to hopefully reset his mind. I would like to see Rhodes replaced for now to see what Hughes, who is doing a little better, but not much, or Hill be given a shot. It looks like they can’t do worse. At least, start rotating these guys in to bring fresh legs like with the DL rotation and as a bonus, give opposing QB’s and WR’s a different look.
The Vikings safeties are doing well, but if the CBs could get better, they could be even more magical, and it will be needed from here on out. How would you address this problem?