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Vikings Off-Season Evaluation: Defensive Coordinator

NFL: International Series-Minnesota Vikings at Cleveland Browns Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Evaluating Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards has always been something of a difficult task from the outside - because it’s hard to know just what his duties are - except we know play-calling isn’t one of them.

We do know that Edwards has had the title of defensive coordinator since Mike Zimmer came to town, and had worked with him previously as well. I suspect Edwards takes the lead in game planning for opponents, and implementing what Zimmer wants done.

But at some point after five years as DC, Zimmer either needs to give him the full responsibility of a DC - including play-calling - or find someone else.

But I suspect the real reason Edwards isn’t a full-blown DC has more to do with Zimmer not being willing to delegate those duties to him rather than his not being capable.

And with Zimmer struggling to be both HC and DC without short-changing both roles, the time has come to give George Edwards a promotion: make him the real defensive coordinator and not just the de facto assistant.

George Edwards - Zimmer Scheme Guy

Edwards is as well versed in Mike Zimmer’s scheme as anyone other than Zimmer himself. But he may also see opportunities for improvement looking at it with a different set of eyes than the master. The main challenge is to continue to evolve the scheme to maximize the abilities of the players running it. And adapt it to changing offensive schemes and tactics.

But Edwards make sense to take over all DC responsibilities - freeing up Zimmer to be a full time head coach - while providing continuity to a defense that remains one of the better units in the league.

Evolution Needed

As good as the Vikings defense has been - and it remained a top unit in third down conversion % allowed, red zone TDs allowed, and sacks - it has been inconsistent and has disappointed in big games. It can completely shut-down struggling offenses, but can struggle at times against better ones. It also isn’t as proficient in generating turnovers as you might expect from a top unit with talent at every level and pretty much everyone well versed in the scheme.

The Vikings will have a wealth of talent returning on the back end next season: Rhodes, Waynes, Alexander, Hughes, Hill, Smith, Harris and Kearse among them.

There is also plenty of talent in the front seven - Joseph, Richardson, Weatherly, Hunter, Griffen, Kendricks, Barr, Gedeon. But they could be made to be more productive and disruptive. Doing so schematically would harness more of the talent there and also make it easier on a very capable back-end to shut things down - and generate turnovers.

Edwards can take the lead in evolving the Vikings defensive scheme - and being more aggressive with the talent he has.


Should George Edwards be "promoted" to full fledged defensive coordinator with play calling responsibilities?

This poll is closed

  • 77%
    (1704 votes)
  • 10%
    No - Zimmer should continue in that role
    (225 votes)
  • 11%
    No - they should hire a new defensive coordinator
    (258 votes)
2187 votes total Vote Now