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Three rookies played extensively on defense, and all three played well.
End Ziggy Ansah has been an impact performer all season, and he once again provided a healthy dose of pass-rushing pressure from the left side. He had at least three QB pressures in this game and was very active against the run as well.
Fellow end Devin Taylor has played better as the season progressed, and the fourth-rounder impressed in Minnesota. Despite not making a big dent on the stat sheet, Taylor initially bested his man more often than not.
On Patterson's awesome touchdown run, Taylor played his role correctly by getting outside and forcing the runner back towards his helpers. He made a similar containment on another run later in the game. These are little intricacies that show development and legitimate promise going forward.
Then there was second-round pick Darius Slay. As the yawner of a game wore on, there was a lot of Twitter activity with a similar message to this:
Slay had his struggles throughout the season, but it was easy to see his increased confidence over the last couple of games. He played quite well in Minnesota, showing a natural stickiness in coverage and an enthusiasm for attacking the run.