We’ve done a good job of getting guys who disrupt the quarterback

The Vikings made their first head coaching change since 2014 when they fired Mike Zimmer and hired Kevin O’Connell early this offseason, so Monday was a big day on the team’s calendar.

It was the first day of their voluntary offseason program and the first chance for defensive players to work in the facility with O’Connell and new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. Veteran safety Harrison Smith called it an opportunity to “reset and kind of start fresh” for a unit that has a number of new faces.

The Vikings signed defensive tackle Harrison Phillips, edge rusher Za’Darius Smith, and linebacker Jordan Hicks as free agents and they expect to have Danielle Hunter healthy as a complement to Smith in the pass rush. All of that is reason for Smith to be optimistic about what the future will hold.

“That’s big, selfishly, for secondary players. If you can get to the quarterback, disrupt the quarterback, make it a little harder on him, it’s important,” Smith said, via the team’s website. “We all know it’s a quarterback-driven league, so you’ve got to make them uncomfortable back there. I think we’ve done quite a good job of getting guys in here that can do that.”

Zimmer’s teams generally featured stout defenses, but the last two years saw the team fail to meet that standard. A turnaround in 2022 would make for a good start to the O’Connell era.

Harrison Smith: We’ve done a good job of getting guys who disrupt the quarterback originally appeared on Pro Football Talk


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