Minnesota S Harrison Smith talks about the Vikings defense this year

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Jack White, Vikings Wire
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Vikings safety Harrison Smith has been a key contributor on some great defenses in the past, so it’s probably hard to be on a unit as bad as the Minnesota defense is this season.

The Vikings’ struggles on defense culminated in a 52-33 loss against the Saints. It was a must-win game that Minnesota lost, so now it will play a Week 17 matchup on Sunday with pretty much no stakes.

Smith talked about the 2020 defense recently with reporters:

“As a guy who’s been on a lot of very good defenses, it’s not the Vikings’ standard to not be top five, top 10 in pretty much every category,” Smith said, via ESPN’s Courtney Cronin. “But that’s how NFL seasons go sometimes. … You get some injuries, things like that. But it doesn’t matter, that stuff. Whoever is up next has to step up and learn the system, learn the game. We’re continually trying to do that.”

Despite their struggles, the Vikings defense has a chance to make strides in 2021. Cameron Dantzler and Jeff Gladney both showed progress as rookies. Danielle Hunter and Michael Pierce should be on the defensive line next season, barring anything unexpected.

If Minnesota wants a bounce-back season and a playoff berth, its defense has to improve. That could very well happen in 2021.