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).