Kirk Cousins admits Ed Donatell’s defense making practice ‘difficult’

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Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Ed Donatell came in with the goal to install a defensive scheme that’s hard to decipher at the line of scrimmage. If anyone needed a clue on how it’s working, just ask Kirk Cousins.

During a media session on Wednesday afternoon, the Vikings quarterback spoke about what practice has been like when going up against the team’s new-look defense.

The best word he used to describe it was “muddy.” It’s a clouded picture every time he’s under center and the ball is snapped.

“It’s really muddy. So when you drop back, you don’t quite know what you’re getting, said Cousins. “Obviously as a quarterback—but at any position on offense—you want to know what you’re getting. And they’re doing a good job with disguise, making everything look the same. …I think it’s a great scheme, and they do a great job. It just makes practice difficult.”

Donatell’s defense is utilizing a hybrid scheme with 3-4 and 4-3 looks.

The unit is aiming to disguise their true intentions pre-snap. As veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson explains it, they’re “stealing a second” from opposing quarterbacks.

Cousins might feel like minutes have been stolen from him by the end of minicamp. Even the slightest bit of defensive praise is good news for a Vikings team that consistently got lit up on the defensive side of the ball last season.

Along with adding veteran cornerback Chandon Sullivan, the team rebooted the secondary with a splash of youth with rookies Lewis Cine, Andrew Booth Jr. and Akayleb Evans. They also went out and added reinforcements to the defensive front with two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Za’Darius Smith, rookie Brian Asamoah and defensive tackle Harrison Phillips.

If Donatell’s defense takes root and stands its ground, the Vikings could be a legitimate contender in 2022.

List

Highlights and notes from Day 1 of minicamp