Minnesota Vikings 3rd Down Defense is NFL’s Best in Over 25 Years

The Minnesota Vikings defense is currently allowing opponents to convert on 3rd down just 26.3% of the time. That mark is the best the NFL has seen since the 1991 Saints. If you celebrated that New Orleans season by baring children, your defensive-football inspired offspring are now old enough to rent a car.

*Please Note – The above Tweet from the Vikings PR account lists 26.1% for the Vikings. As of Tuesday, ESPN.com shows Minnesota at 26.3%.

This year, the Broncos are currently 2nd in the NFL, in lowest percentage of 3rd down conversions by a defense. However, the “No Fly Zone“, and company, are allowing teams to convert 4.5% of the time more than Minnesota. As for the NFC, the silver medal goes to Philadelphia. The 12-2 Eagles are letting teams move the chains on 3rd down during just 32.8% of their attempts.

Green Bay’s defense currently sits 30th in this category. Their 44.8% conversion allowance is ahead of just two other NFL teams. That’s not a shot at any franchise or any neighboring state. I just thought it was noteworthy…

If you had to choose an MVP for this defense, who would it be?

My vote goes to Mike Zimmer’s brain. That thing is the key to making this engine go.

All jokes aside, a person could make a legitimate argument for picking one of a half of dozen players (Griffin, Joseph, Barr, Kendricks, Rhodes, Smith). From the elite edge rusher, to the 2x Pro Bowl Safety and all the way in-between; Minnesota’s defense is balanced and absurdly talented.

Some of the Best 3rd Down Defenses this Century:

New Orleans 26.1% was posted in the early 1990’s. NFL rules have evolved to support more of offensive game. Why? Because touchdowns put asses in the seats.

Considering that aspect, it makes what Minnesota is accomplishing that much more impressive. In today’s pass happy league, Viking’s opponents have only seen success 46 times out of 175 attempts on 3rd down.

The Falcons victory over Tampa Bay on Monday Night Football officially eliminated Green Bay from playoff contention. The Vikings face off against the Rodgers-less Packers on Saturday night. After that game, it’s the Bears at home to close the regular season. It doesn’t take a statistician to figure out that Minnesota could easily surpass that 1991 Saints mark.

Using the blowing out of the Bengals as an example, #SkolNation is having fun basking in the Purple’s recent success. However, this team will ultimately be remembered for what it does or doesn’t accomplish during the playoffs. A high-level regular season is great, but it easily can be all for not.

If you don’t believe me, just ask the 2016-2017 Golden State Warriors. Technically, they are NBA’s greatest “Regular Season Team” ever:

 

Oh yeah, just in case you want to get JACKED UP for this playoff run… After watching this, I am going run home from work instead of driving.

Johnny Minnesota @TheJohnnyMN
Minnesota Sports Fan MinnesotaSportsFan.com

Photo: BRIAN PETERSON – STAR TRIBUNE