Any Minnesota Vikings fan is aware of the woeful defensive rankings from the 2013 season by now.
Here's a refresher just to remind you how important it is for new head coach Mike Zimmer to put his imprint on the 2014 defense: 31st in total defense, pass defense and third-down conversion against. Dead last in points allowed, surrendering 30.0 points per game.
These were not your father's purple people eaters.
The symptoms for the Vikings defensive problems were pretty simple. They were soft up front, slow at linebacker and their secondary couldn't cover anybody. Other than that, they were pretty good.
Quarterback is probably the main culprit why the Vikings have struggled with inconsistency so much over the last three seasons, but after that, all of the main reasons have been the decay of the defense.
With that backdrop it was no surprise the general manager Rick Spielman went out and hired a defensive guru in Zimmer, a feisty personality who presided over the Cincinnati Bengals defense over the last six years. Zimmer had the Bengals defense near the top of the league every year with a group of reclamation projects as well as guys he seemingly found out of nowhere and molded into star players.
The Vikings defense will be much improved in 2014. They've added size and speed and now have a talented core group of youngsters who could lead a huge turnaround for Minnesota on the defensive side of the ball.
Here we take a look at each position on the defensive depth chart and give analysis on what to expect from each player in 2014.