The Minnesota Vikings enter the bye week at 5-1 and sit in a good spot with a two-game lead in the NFC North division.
Despite the immediate success in the first year of the Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah era, the Vikings still have a lot of room to grow. The main area where they should see growth is on the offensive side of the football, but the defense should also see some improvement.
Defensive coordinator Ed Donatell has the defense preventing big plays but they are allowing the opponent to gain yards. In 2021, the Vikings’ defense was 24th in points allowed and 29th in yards allowed. The unit has seen some improvement as they are currently 12th in points allowed and 27th in yards allowed.
On Friday, we took a look at the PFF grades for the offense heading into the bye week. Today, we look at how they stack up on defense.
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (94) during the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports
DE Dalvin Tomlinson 75.3
NT Harrison Phillips 69.0
DE James Lynch 66.8
DE Jonathan Bullard 60.2
DE Ross Blacklock 51.1
Tomlinson is having himself an excellent season that is likely to end in a contract extension from the team. Tomlinson currently leads all defensive lineman with two sacks and 15 pressures and has been a force on the interior.
Oct 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) sacks Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1)in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
OLB Za’Darius Smith 83.2
OLB Danielle Hunter 79.7
OLB D.J. Wonnum 64.3
OLB Patrick Jones II 68.9
OLB Luiji Vilain 39.5
The duo of Hunter and Smith has been excellent so far this season. With Smith having 29 pressures and Hunter 16, the duo has been good and the depth with Wonnum and Jones II has been just the same.
Minnesota Vikings safety Camryn Bynum (24) and linebacker Eric Kendricks (54) break up a pass in the endzone intended for Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan (85) late in the fourth quarter during their football game Sunday, September 11, 2022, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Min. Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
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ILB Eric Kendricks 56.5
ILB Jordan Hicks 55.1
ILB Brian Asamoah 45.9
ILB Troy Dye 60.9
The linebacker unit has been mixed at best. Kendricks has been solid but the grade difference between him and Hicks is much closer than the actual performance. We will likely be seeing more of Asamoah after the bye week.
Jan 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) and defensive back Parry Nickerson (39) and cornerback Cameron Dantzler (27) and safety Harrison Smith (rear) react after an interception return for touchdown off a pass by Chicago Bears quarterback Andy Dalton (not pictured) during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
CB Patrick Peterson 73.0
CB Cameron Dantzler 70.4
CB Chandon Sullivan 50.2
CB Akayleb Evans 39.5
CB Kris Boyd 63.8
The Vikings cornerback situation has been solid but they have a massive weakness at slot cornerback. Sullivan has been bad this season and the Vikings would be smart to look at other options.
Oct 16, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) tackles Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki (88) during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports
S Harrison Smith 64.7
S Camryn Bynum 53.6
S Lewis Cine 60.1
S Josh Metellus 77.7
S Myles Dorn 60.0
The safeties have been solid but they haven’t been in as good of a position as they could be in the passing game. As they grow within this scheme, things should get increasingly better.