Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Viking pass defense: not as bad as all that

According to Don Banks in his latest Mock Draft, "The Vikings pass defense was abysmal last year."

Is this true? The 2006 Viking pass defense did rank 31st in passing yards allowed and 32nd in completions allowed. However, they also ranked 32nd in competion attempts allowed; it makes sense that a team giving up the most pass attempts is going to give up a lot of completions and yards. Teams threw the ball a lot because they couldn't run the ball; the Vikings ranked 1st in rush attempts allowed, 1st in rush yards allowed, and most importantly, 1st in rush yards per attempt allowed. You could look at the yardage total and say the Viking pass defense was abysmal; or, you could be a real analyst and see that the Viking defense ranked a more respectable 12th in pass yards per attempt.

Furthermore, the Viking defense actually ranked 4th in TD passes allowed and 5th in interceptions. Is that abysmal? Only three teams in the NFL allowed fewer passing touchdowns, EVEN THOUGH NOBODY FACED MORE PASS ATTEMPTS THAN THE VIKINGS. I would say the pass defense handled itself pretty well under the circumstances. Despite being repeatedly passed on, the Viking defense gave up very few TD passes.

Cold, Hard Fooball Facts suggests the Viking pass defense was better than advertised, too. As CHFF has consistently stated (and as I've consistently linked to), total pass yards allowed are not a good way to judge a pass defense. Defensive pass rating is a better number to assess a pass defense, and the Vikings ranked 5th in the league.

If the pass defense was so abysmal, the defense must have given up a lot of points, right? But the Vikings had 9 games in 2006 in which they gave up 1 or 0 offensive TDs. In 9 of 16 games, the Viking defense gave up either ONE or ZERO offensive touchdowns. Do you grasp that? The defense was dominating all around (incredibly, the Vikings record in those games was 3-6 because of defensive and special teams touchdowns and inept offense).

If you don't look closely, you might believe the Viking pass defense was abysmal in 2006. But it wasn't. And I expect Don Banks, a paid sportswriter for Sports Illustrated, to be able to look closer.

(Note: you could argue that the Viking pass rush was abysmal in 2006; they did rank 25rd in the league with 30 sacks. But since Banks is justifying his mock pick of a safety for the Vikings, that doesn't really matter).


  1. Anonymous5:13 PM

    Does he know how many safetys we already have?

  2. Anonymous7:03 PM

    great blog,
    Using the adjusted yards per attempt method they use on pfr
    the vikings pass defense was 9th(5.37)
    adding sacks to the same method they were 16th(4.82), so I would tend to agree with you.


  3. How about the obvious stupidity of his other comment. "Don't rule out a trade up for Quinn (Detroit #2) or Adams. Seriously, according to his projections Calvin Johnson doesn't go until #4, but the Vikings who need a WR badly and like everyone would gizz in their pants if he was available to them would trade up to get Quinn instead of Johnson???????

    If that happened I would officially swear of the Vikings and officially cheer for the team who has two of my favorite stars. The Arizona Cardinals featuring Matt Leinart and Larry Fitzgerald.

  4. Anonymous9:10 PM

    I think every team in the league has at least two of blue viking devil's favorite players...

  5. Not quite Beav...lets run down the list.

    AFC East-

    Bills- No one
    Patriots-Tom Brady
    Jets-No one

    AFC North-

    Steelers-No one
    Baltimore-McGahee, R.Lewis, E.Reed

    AFC South-

    Colts-No one
    Jags-No one
    Titans-No one

    AFC West-

    Chargers-Tomlinson, Rivers
    Broncos-No one

    NFC East-

    Cowboys-No one

    NFC North-

    Vikes-T.Jackson, K.Williams
    Packers-No one
    Bears-No one

    NFC South-

    Falcons-No one
    Saints-No one
    Tampa-No one

    NFC West-

    Rams-Holt, S.Jackson
    Seahawks-No one
    49ers-Gore, V.Davis
    Cardinals-Leinart, Fitzgerald, Boldin

    But my two favorite stars overall are Leinart and Fitzgerald.

  6. Thanks for proving it was only a slight exaggeration on my part...