Thursday, November 30, 2017

Vikings Pressure Package

Here is an interesting concept from the Minnesota Vikings defense and head coach Mike Zimmer. Minnesota manipulates the pass protection by bluffing double A gap pressure from a Nickel personnel. 

The Vikings show a front with both DT's in 3 techniques which leaves both A gaps open. The Mike and Will linebackers are both walked up into the A gaps. This is a common pressure look from 4 man front teams. This alignment forces the offense into six 1 on 1 match ups in pass protection. The RB is responsible for 1 of the walked ILB's while the OL handles the 4 DL and other walked ILB. 

 Minnesota then brings a DB off the edge to the side of the back. The RB has a dual read 1(Mike) to 2(Safety) from inside to outside. If both rushers came in the pressure the QB would need to throw hot. In principle if only one of the threats rushed the RB should be able to block the 6th pass rusher and the protection is intact.

 In practice the pick up is very difficult for the back when only the safety rushes and the ILB does not. The RB is forced to aggressively step up to the walked LB. The RB wants to initiate contact with the LB close to the L.O.S. to avoid being knocked back into the QB and altering the launch point of the QB's throw. The RB doesn't know the ILB isn't rushing. It is very difficult for the RB once he has stepped up to see the Safety is blitzing and even more difficult to actually redirect out to the edge rusher and make a block. The result is an unblocked edge rushing safety.

Here the Vikings are running the concept backed up by a 2 read coverage concept. Minnesota shows 1 ILB walked up which puts the protection in an even more difficult predicament. 

 With the Mike showing and the Will off the ball, the Lions check the protection pre-snap to allow the Center to block the most immediate threat (the walked up Mike). This forces the RB to scan across the formation to the opposite A gap if the Will rushes.

When the Will walks up late the RB is forced to block his most inside threat. The Mike drops out into coverage, leaving the Center blocking no one. There are only two options for the offense. The 1st is the OL pushes the protection out when the Mike drops. This option forces the Center out to a 3 tech, the Guard out to a DE, and the OT out to the Safety off the edge. The likelihood of this happening is slim to none. This isn't a hot read (offense has 6 blockers for 6 rushers) but it should lead to the QB getting rid of the ball quickly. Which leads to option #2, the QB gets the throw off before the pressure gets home. The LB and DE dropping to the seams make throwing short inside throws very difficult. This forces the QB to hold on to the ball. 

Here is another example.

The pressure concept is the same only with a 3 under 3 deep coverage concept to handle the 3x1 formation. The RB steps up so hard to the L.O.S. he never even sees the rush off the edge.

This isn't a new wrinkle in Coach Zimmer's playbook. 

Here are the Bengals running the same concept back in 2013 during Coach Zimmer's last season as the Cincinnati Defensive Coordinator. Again backed up by 3 under 3 deep zone coverage.

The Vikings also do a nice job of bluffing this pressure concept.

The Vikings bluff the double A gap with the threat of a safety pressure off the edge. The Safety bails out and the coverage in man under 2 deep. The LB on the RB who releases into the route peels off and plays man coverage. The LB on the RB who blocks adds to the pass rush (green dog technique) and becomes the 5th rusher. 

Good stuff from the Vikings Defense. 


  1. Its 5-man pressure -- Not 6

    1. It is a 5 man pressure that is how they are playing 3 under 3 deep and 2 read coverage's. It a zone dog concept. The first diagrams are explaining how the double A gap bluff by the linebackers manipulates the pass protection.