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Minnesota Vikings: Why the Cover Two Must Be Thrown in the Garbage

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Minnesota Vikings: Why the Cover Two Must Be Thrown in the Garbage
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The ending to the Minnesota Vikings' 23-20 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday looked all too familiar to Vikings fans.

Andrew Luck, the biggest quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning arrived from the University of Tennessee in 1998, took the ball from his own 20-yard line and proceeded to tear apart the Vikings' secondary en route to a game-winning 53-yard field goal by Adam Vinateri with eight seconds remaining.

During Luck's game-winning drive, the Vikings went to the core philosophy of head coach Leslie Frazier's defense: The Cover Two.

The Cover Two (also known as the Tampa Two) was originated by Bud Carson, a defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers who was the architect for the Steel Curtain in the 1970's. The strategy involves each player playing a zone around their proximity and ranges back 15 yards from the line of scrimmage.

This worked great for many coaches, especially in the late-90's through the 2000's, but despite the success that Frazier's mentor Tony Dungy had with it, it's time for the Vikings to make the switch to a more agressive style of defense.

The writing is on the wall when you look at what the Vikings have to go up against on a yearly basis.

The NFC North is riddled with promising young quarterbacks with Pro Bowl potential. If the Vikings sit back and let the quarterback make a decision, the result will almost always be something similar to what Luck did to them on Sunday afternoon.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Andrew Luck laughed in the face of the Viking defense as he made a game-winning drive look easy on Sunday.

The benefits of an attacking defense would not only improve their abysmal passing defense, but it would also trigger the weaknesses of every quarterback they have to face twice every season.

Putting an immense amount of pressure on Jay Cutler would result in him berating his teammates and throwing wild interceptions into the heart of the Vikings' secondary. Attacking Cutler would make things tough, and when the going gets tough, Jay Cutler says "Screw this!"

The Vikings would also have a benefit in attacking Matthew Stafford as the Lions continue to be a tempremental team. If the Vikings were able to abuse the Lions' offensive line, there could be a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in their favor to make things difficult for Detroit and its explosive passing game.

Then there's the biggest rival, the Green Bay Packers. In what would seem like a page out of the Gregg Williams playbook, it's important to note that Aaron Rodgers has a history of concussions.

The Vikings shouldn't use bounties to take Rodgers out, but all it takes is one hit for Rodgers to be knocked out of the game and be replaced by the immortal Graham Harrell to the dismay of Packers fans everywhere.

The philosophy is simple. The Vikings should turn the playmakers they have on defense such as Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, and Chad Greenway loose and have their main goal to be to pound the quarterback into submission.

When the quarterback is wondering where he's going to be hit from next, it's going to be a lot more difficult not only producing game-winning drives, but putting up points in general.

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