Pro Football Focus has been posting their rankings of each team now that the regular season is over. Unsurprisingly, they have spent the past week and a half knocking the majority of Minnesota’s units. Yesterday, they released their final pass rush rankings, and the Vikings hold the prestigious honor of being ranked dead last.
PFF immediately addressed Minnesota’s issue of losing 2019’s outside tandem of Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffin. They then went on to discuss the fact that the Vikings pressure rate of 21.6% was the lowest in the league, and outside of Ifeadi Odenigbo, no one on this team cracked 25 pressures.
That isn’t the only caveat, though. Free agent acquisition, DT Michael Pierce, opted out before the season began due to Covid risks. While that was obviously in his right to do, it left the Vikings scrambling for depth on the inside of the defensive line. The six week experiment of Yannick Ngakoue didn’t do much for consistency along the defensive front, either.
This is just the latest batch of rankings to reflect negatively on the Vikings defense as they finished 2020 as the 10th worst secondary. Obviously this was less of a shock after so much turnover in the roster and being forced to give rookies Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler a ton of reps.
Both players, while inconsistent, finished the season stronger than they started. Dantzler especially played well towards the end of the season, and he was rewarded by PFF. He had two games (weeks 13 and 15) where he scored above a 90 on PFF’s system, good for the best two performances by a rookie corner this season. Still, PFF ranked Minnesota so low because of the five corners to play 125 coverage snaps, Dantzler was the lone player to score a coverage grade above 51.
To top it all off, the Vikings also came in as the 26th ranked offensive line. This is an area that must be improved next season, specifically along the interior. Minnesota gave up an egregious amount of pressures this season, and it shows in the numbers. In terms of pressure rate, Garrett Bradbury ranked 34th out of 36 among centers, Ezra Cleveland was 37th out of 40 among right guards, and Dakota Dozier was 36th out of 39 among left guards.
Overall, there were only two other teams that ranked in the bottom ten in all three categories, and I’ll give you a hint. None of them were the Jets or Jaguars. The only other two along with Minnesota were Las Vegas and Houston; both of whom also didn’t make the postseason. Maybe we should put a little less blame on the quarterbacks for the teams’ lack of success.