What's happened to Vikings' vaunted defense since NFC title game?

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Nine months after that rout at the hands of eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, others inside the Minnesota Vikings' locker room might similarly describe their defensive struggles from the first quarter of the season.

Some will argue that the defensive prowess of the Vikings’ stout unit, which rose to No. 1 in scoring and total defense in 2017, has yet to return after disappearing at Lincoln Financial Field in late nfl nike jerseys china

Minnesota has tumbled to 22nd in scoring after allowing 27 or more points in three straight games. In its past two games, the Vikings' defense allowed opposing quarterbacks to account for at least three touchdowns in the first half alone. The Rams posted 556 yards of total offense in Week 4, the most ever given up by a Vikings defense during Mike Zimmer’s tenure.

The only silver lining as the Vikings prepare to head back to Philly in Week 5 may be the early nature of these issues. Zimmer had a hard time finding an answer for their struggles against the pass after allowing Jared Goff to complete 26 of 33 passes for 422 yards and five touchdowns, but he isn’t willing to let these first four games define anything.3

"This isn’t a time for ‘woe is me,’" Zimmer said. "If people remember, we were 2-2 this time last year. We finished 13-3. We were 5-0 the year before, and we finished 8-8. We were 2-2 the year before that, and we finished 11-5, so all the predictors, this isn’t a good time to predict."

With Carson Wentz returning for his third start after a complex ACL tear kept him out of the NFC title game, Zimmer noted that Philadelphia’s offense is "pretty similar" to when it had Nick Foles at quarterback.

In their last meeting, Foles threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, converting 10 of 14 third downs against the league’s best third-down defense. He made his biggest plays when he had to drop back and pass nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Last week in the Eagles' overtime loss to Tennessee, Wentz completed 33 of 50 passes for 348 yards and two touchdowns, predicated on the intermediate passing attack he thrived in a year ago, hitting receivers in stride downfield.

Minnesota’s pass defense ranks 23rd (277.5 yards per game) after four weeks. It was the second-best pass defense a year ago. So far this season, the Vikings' miscommunication has led to mistakes in coverage, allowing teams to string together big plays.

"We need to cover our guys, stop making mistakes, making errors because it’s a domino effect," Rhodes said. "If one guy messes up, another guy does, a guy is open, and the quarterback finds that guy."

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