E Point Perfect

Kirk Cousins Among Those Impressed by Vikings Defense


Jul 28, 2021; Englewood, CO, United States; Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

During his recent press conference, Kirk Cousins spent a fair bit of time breaking down why the Vikings defense is a challenge. Perhaps the main word that stood out was his repeated claim that they make things “muddy.”

The QB notes that “they’re doing a good job with disguise, making things look the same” while also insisting that the scheme “makes practice difficult.” The insistence that things are “really muddy” flows from the defense’s ability to hide what they’re actually doing until the play is underway: “When you drop back you don’t quite know what you’re getting.” Being able to disguise one’s intentions is crucial for defensive success.

Football is a sport that can require great intellectual effort. QBs will do their utmost to decipher what’s occurring in front of them before the ball is snapped in an effort to understand what will transpire when the ball leaves the center’s hands.

The Vikings defense has a lot of talent. Za’Darius Smith, Danielle Hunter, Dalvin Tomlinson, Eric Kendricks, Patrick Peterson, and Harrison Smith are all strong players. Young guys like Camryn Bynum, Lewis Cine, Armon Watts, Cameron Dantzler, and Andrew Booth Jr. offer a fair bit of upside. Putting this talent within a scheme that can successfully disguise what the defense is doing will allow these players to shine.

Last season, the Vikings finished as the 9th-worst team in the NFL in terms of points allowed. The Vikings were 3rd-worst in yards allowed. These struggles made life challenging for Kirk Cousins and the offense. Having poor field position and playing from behind hinder an offense’s ability to lean on its full array of plays.

In other words, some better defense in 2022 can help fuel better offense in 2022. Let’s hope Kirk Cousins is right about Ed Donatell’s “muddy” scheme.

K.J. Osborn and Chad Beebe


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