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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Against Brees, Vikings defense can establish themselves right away

By Matthew Coller

Under Mike Zimmer, the Minnesota Vikings have grown into one of the league’s best defenses, ranking fifth and sixth in points against in the last two seasons.

With most of the same players in place, the Vikings have aspirations to be the league’s best defense. They couldn’t ask for a tougher opponent to prove their prowess against than New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

“He’s awful good, he’s really good,” Zimmer said Thursday. “Extremely accurate, he’s got an unbelievable arm too. One of the things that sets him apart is that he’s so quick getting rid of the football. Knowing where to go with the different spots. He really is a Hall of Fame kind of quarterback, one of the best in the NFL and one of the best that’s ever played.”

Brees has led the NFL in passing yards in five of the last six seasons and showed no signs of slowing down at age 37, racking up 5,208 to top the league last year. It has been 10 years since Brees last threw fewer than 30 touchdowns and he’s No. 1 all-time in completion percentage.

But Zimmer has had a tendency over his career to slow down some of the best QBs. To open the 2016 season, the Vikings beat Marcus Mariota, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and Eli Manning. Zimmer’s team finished fourth in the NFL in passer rating against last season and second in Yards Per Attempt against.

The Vikings’ head coach said that beating a QB of Brees’s caliber isn’t as simple as throwing new looks at him.

“He’s really hard to fool,” Zimmer said. “He’s seen so many different things, he’s a great competitor, part of it is just doing what we do. Will we change up some? Sure. So will they.”

Pressuring Brees will be key – as for any top-notch quarterback. The Saints will be starting a rookie left tackle against Everson Griffen, which should be a big advantage for the Vikings.

“If you don’t make him pull the ball down, he’s going to get it out and he’s not going to get sacked,” Zimmer said.

Brees and Zimmer have faced off just once some the long-time defensive coordinator took over as head coach of the Vikings. That was back in 2014 before the Vikings’ defense was rebuilt under Zimmer. Brees threw for 293 yards, two touchdowns and completed 77% of his passes in a 20-9 win over the Vikings.

This time around, a strong performance against the future Hall of Fame quarterback would quickly establish the Vikings’ defense as one of the league’s toughest.

The post Against Brees, Vikings defense can establish themselves right away appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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