Mike Zimmer: Vikings defense will probably look “completely different” this year

Sport

After being shredded on Christmas Day by the Saints and Alvin Kamara (who became the first player to score six touchdowns in a game since Gale Sayers in 1965), coach Mike Zimmer declared that the 2021 Vikings was the “worse one I’ve ever had.” This year, it figures to be better.

It can’t be any worse.

The Vikings added multiple veteran defenders to the mix, signing defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, cornerback Patrick Peterson, and cornerback Bashaud Breeland and bringing back defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and cornerback Mackensie Alexander. The Vikings also will have defensive tackle Michael Pierce back from a COVID opt out, linebacker Anthony Barr back from a season-ending pectoral injury, and defensive end Danielle Hunter back from neck surgery and contract disgruntlement.

“Our guys in the front office have done an outstanding job,” Zimmer told reporters. “It’s probably gonna look completely different on the defensive side of the ball than it did last year, with the guys coming back and the additions that we made. So I am excited about that.”

The Vikings also will have their home-field advantage again, with plenty of noise coming from the stands — and bouncing off the specially-designed roof — when the opponent has the ball. That will be a huge factor as well for a team that started very slowly in 2020 before putting together a respectable record. This year, the Vikings could be one of the more balanced teams in the NFC, if they can stay healthy.