EAGAN, Minn. – Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer is expecting more out of his defense.
Minnesota now has five of its 16 full-team training camp practices under its belt, and Zimmer said Thursday morning before the sixth session that he has yet to see the edge he’s looking for from that side of the ball.
“We’ve gotta play better on defense than what we’re playing right now. We need to play a lot better,” Zimmer said, immediately pivoting from a question about Anthony Harris. “The offense has got a lot of grit and fight, and I haven’t seen it much out of the defense, yet. That’s where my major concern is at this point.”
Whereas the Vikings offense has been acclimating to a largely new coaching staff and learning a new system, the defense has stayed almost entirely intact in Zimmer’s tenure.
Maybe that’s the problem, he said.
“They’ve been together for quite a while now, and they think they’re pretty good. So, maybe we just go out and practice and it’s not [at the necessary] intensity level,” Zimmer said. “They’re not making mistakes because they’ve been in the same defense for six years now, and it’s a little bit of, maybe, complacency? ‘Hey, we’re in the top-five defense every year, blah, blah, blah.’ ”
It seems that most of the starting positions on defense have been set. Asked specifically if that could cause a lack of urgency, Zimmer said he doesn’t believe that’s necessarily the case but did emphasize that he wants to see a more competitive attitude.