Paul Allen kept going back to this stat on the radio broadcast of yesterday's game against the Detroit Lions, and I know I mentioned it at some point in the Game Threads, but I wanted to put it out there because I simply can't get past how strange this is.
Through 13 games, the Minnesota Vikings have faced 431 pass attempts, which is an average of right around 33 per game. In their first five games, the Vikings faced 202 pass attempts. Pass attempt number 202 was a pass thrown by Arizona Cardinals' backup quarterback Richard Bartel that wound up in the hands of Jamarca Sanford, and led to the Vikings taking the victory formation in that particular game.
That game took place in Week Five. Week Five's game happened on October 9, 2011.
The Minnesota Vikings haven't. . .intercepted. . .a pass. . .since.
But that's probably not a huge surprise. I mean, our secondary is awful, and everyone knows it, especially when one considers that we've been without our top five or six defensive backs for big stretches of time for various reasons. But here's what's so maddening about it.
The Vikings, counting today's effort against Detroit, have now had 229 pass attempts thrown at them without an interception. The Vikings are also third in the NFL in sacks with 40 after today's game. Here's how the team's sacks break down, according to the numbers from NFL.com:
I don't understand why the Vikings' stat page at NFL.com has the Vikings down for 40 sacks, but those numbers only add up to 39. I ran them several times and don't think I missed anybody.
But unless I miss my count here somehow, of the Vikings 39 (or 40) sacks, I only see seven of them that come from a source outside of the defensive line, and those are the ones from the guys you see in italics up there. Despite the fact that the Vikings have shown a clear ability to get to the quarterback, their pass defense has been putrid. The only team that has a higher quarterback rating against them this year is the Indianapolis Colts. . .the team that still hasn't won a game. . .and theirs isn't even that much worse than Minnesota's. The Colts' QB rating against is 108.7, while Minnesota's is 107.1.
To put that QB rating into perspective, take into consideration that Tom Brady's quarterback rating for the season is 106.0, and Drew Brees' quarterback rating is 105.9. So, the Minnesota pass defense literally makes every quarterback they face (on average) look better than Tom Brady or Drew Brees. (Brees comes to the Metrodome this Sunday. . .that ought to be fun, huh?)
The Vikings have now seen 229 pass attempts since their last interception, despite having one of the best pass rushes in the National Football League, and quite possibly the best individual pass rusher in the game today in Jared Allen. I simply don't understand how that happens. . .I mean, don't teams just fall into the occasional interception? Something where a quarterback gets hammered from behind when he drops back to pass and the ball flutters into the arms of a defensive lineman or a linebacker? Or a pass that gets deflected at the line that somebody ends up grabbing? Or a ball that bounces off of a receiver's hands?
Not the 2011 Minnesota Vikings, I guess.
It really just underscores how awful the secondary has been as a whole this year. Yes, the secondary is missing players for various reasons, but it's not like they were exactly ballhawking when the cupboard was full. . .well, full relative to what it is now, in any case. I mean, seriously, when your secondary is to the point where you're actually waiting for the return of Asher Allen to give your secondary a boost, things are bad.
The entire secondary needs to be overhauled, and I have a feeling that a lot of heads are going to roll this off-season because of stuff just like this.