Patrick Peterson Expects Vikings Defense to be Night and Day Better

Photo: Quinn Harris – USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings 2022 season is coming way faster than you think. So enjoy your summer while it’s still here because it’s already slipping through your sweaty fingers. But don’t get down. This is why football exists. To give midwesterners a light, at he beginning of the winter tunnel. Something to look forward to, as the days get shorter and the -20 wind chill monster creeps into the back of our minds.

Rookies are already reporting to Training Camp across the NFL. First year Vikings are scheduled to arrive at TCO Performance Center by July 24 and the rest of the team on July 26. Patrick Peterson, on a new episode of his “All Things Covered” podcast, previewed the upcoming season and had a lot of good nuggets for fans to chew on.

New Defense > Old Defense

What stuck out to me most, however, was Peterson’s excitement to play in Ed Donatell’s defense. He too, had clearly gotten sick of the well-known complexities of Mike Zimmer’s defensive scheme. All the checks, the audibles, the communication skills, the CONFUSION. P2 clearly believes the simplicity of this new scheme will reverberate positively through all levels of the defense (11:15 mark — Transcribed Below).

“I think the defense is gonna be a night and day difference, in my opinion. Having the opportunity to just line up and play football. There aren’t many checks, aren’t many audibles. We’re forcing teams to beat us We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, trying to come up with crazy blitzes, these crazy zones. Just lineup and play football.”Patrick Peterson (All Things Covered Podcast)

“With the scheme that we have, it’s definitely going to put us in position to be successful on all levels. From the d-line, to the linebackers, to the backend. I had an opportunity to see it close up in person, playing against Ed [Donatell] and the 49ers back in the day, my first couple years in Arizona. I saw how it worked. And I had [eventual teammates] that came out of that system. [I got to] hear some of the stories they were able to share on just how easy and how fluent [Ed Donatell’s] defense was. It was never really no loose ends. Everybody was always on the same page because there was never no, ‘if somebody motions, we checking to this’. If we have one call and that call is not suitable for us to win on that down, yes, we’ll audible out of that then. But there’s not much talking. You get the call, you lineup and play football.”Patrick Peterson (All Things Covered Podcast)

Proactive vs Reactive

Peterson’s comments aren’t surprising, but they do provide more evidence that Zimmer’s once envied defensive scheme has become outdated. Ed Donatell’s scheme has many of the same key features as what we’ll see from Kevin O’Connell’s offense. Simplicity hidden within a cloud of smoke and mirrors.

Earlier in the show, Pat goes into a few details. We won’t see a lot of blitzing but, thanks to the 3-4 base scheme, the opposing QB and OL won’t know which four rushers are coming. In theory, offensive pre-snap motions shouldn’t cause the same type of confusion, either.

Zimmer’s defense was so intricate and complex that every offensive movement cause change to what they were doing. By definition, they were playing in a reactive nature. Patrick Peterson is expecting a more simple game plan that will change week-to-week, depending on matchups. And once they show up on gameday, you play football. Less thinking, less confusion.

New TCO vibes

Peterson made it clear that he feels no need for playing time during the preseason. The risk for injury isn’t worth what veteran players get out of it. P2 will get all the preparation needed during training camp, especially given the joint practices the Minnesota Vikings have scheduled with the San Francisco 49ers.

The vibes at TCO Performance Center are at an all-time high, under the new leadership of Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi-Adofo Mensah. Peterson isn’t blind to the honeymoon stage the organization is currently in but he’s also mindful of the winning cultures the new coaches have been hired out of.

It’s a unique staff, man. Much different from any other staff I’ve been around. Laid back. There’s always a time and place for everything. But at the same time, they do a great job of having a great balance of work, a good time and getting the job done. It’s been great, thus far, but when the real bullets start flying, that’s when you really get to see how coach reacts. But everybody on the defensive staff have been in the playoffs. Head coach came from a Super Bowl team. So they understand what it takes to make things happen. My trust is all in on those guys because they came from winning. They know what it looks like, know what it takes. Patrick Peterson (All Things Covered Podcast)

Other highlights of the podcast include Peterson praising Justin Jefferson and his ability to get open vs anyone. He’s pumped to have Za’Darius Smith on the defensive line, too.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan