The 2020 draft could go down as one of my favorites. We caught a falling Justin Jefferson and still managed to snag my favorite corner, Jeff Gladney after a trade back in the 1st Round. Snagged Ezra Cleveland in round 2 (when I thought we'd have to grab in in the 1st), who is the perfect Athletic Offensive Lineman to fit in our zone blocking scheme.
Then came the 3rd round! And this is where things got interesting. Under Zimmer's belief of you can never have too many CBs. Cam Dantzler seemed to make sense in that 3rd Round Slot. However, with the inevitable learning curve for any rookie corner in Zimmer's defense... it would have made sense for them to provide more pressure to the QB by beefing up the D-Line.
What helps immensely with these growing pains is simply getting pressure on the opposing QB. When you shrink the passing window, corners look way better and can disguise the secondary weaknesses since they do not have to shadow WR routes as long.
We saw this last year, when Zimmer made an incredible game plan against the Saints in the postseason. By moving Hunter and Griffin inside, he forced Brees out of the pocket and made him uncomfortable which saved our struggling secondary with Rhodes and Waynes.
While we were able to hedge this weakness against the Saints. The Vikings knew that they needed new talent at the Corner position. And in attempt to get that same short passing window, they got Michael Pierce (the Juggernaut) in FA. But they wanted more insurance...
As the 3rd Round rolled on (and in attempt to follow the breadcrumbs of Uncle Rick and Coach Zimmer), sources said that they were looking to find a trade partner to trade up in the 3rd for D-Line help where Jordan Elliott or Terrell Lewis on the EDGE were available. But ultimately they could not find a dance partner, and what made this more aggravating was that Jordan Elliott went THE PICK BEFORE US to Cleveland!
But all things considered... we still needed Corner Help so we got Cam Dantzler who provides more height and could be a another great fit for Zimmer's scheme. And after all, Rick got Pierce to go with Hunter so that should provide enough pressure to give these young CBs time...
But as we found out this morning, Rick was not done...
Today the Vikings snagged Yannick Ngakoue, the star Edge Rusher from the Jags! So not only did we get the extra CBs that Zimmer wanted in the draft, but we also got Ngakoue on the opposite side Hunter! And both at 25 years old, my hope is that we can lock Ngakoue through 2023 after this year so that we can have both these guys wreaking havoc for the next 3 years.
And to circle back to the draft, we also got James Lynch in the 4th round who is an Edge that also works in the interior line. So if Zimmer, wants to mess with opposing offensive lines and cycle different guys working the interior... I think he has the pieces to craft more of these different blitz packages.
This could be over speculating, but the fact that they brought in Dom Capers who is a big 3-4 Defensive Scheme guy... I just think that what we saw in the Saints game last year is a taste of what is to come for the different Defensive looks that Zimmer wants to give. Let's Go!
- Joey Almars